The US, UK and Canada have announced new sanctions against Iran due to growing concern over its nuclear ambitions.

In October, a report by the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) accused Iran for the first time of building nuclear weapons.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the sanctions will target Iran’s petrochemical industry, oil and gas industry as well as its financial sector.

“The message is clear,” says Clinton. “If Iran’s intransigence continues, it will face increasing pressure and isolation. Today, the United States is taking a series of steps to sharpen this choice.”

Earlier, the British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said UK credit and financial institutions would be cutting all ties with Iranian banks effective from 21 November. This is the first time the UK has cut off a country’s banking sector in this way.

Canada has also said it would ban exports for the petrochemical, oil and gas industries.           

Russian and China have both opposed the new sanctions with Russia’s Foreign Ministry describing them as unacceptable and against international law.

“We believe that the constant stepping up of sanctions has long since transcended the boundaries of solving non-proliferation tasks in the context of the Iranian nuclear programme,” says the Russian statement.