AFP: Canada announced new sanctions against Iran on Monday that target "virtually all transactions" including with its central bank to pressure Tehran amid renewed suspicion over its nuclear program.

OTTAWA, November 21, 2011 (AFP) — Canada announced new sanctions against Iran on Monday that target "virtually all transactions" including with its central bank to pressure Tehran amid renewed suspicion over its nuclear program.

"Canada is working with like-minded countries and is today expanding sanctions against Iran," said government House Leader Peter Van Loan, adding the measures will "block virtually all transactions with Iran, including those with the central bank."

Canadians sending small amounts of money to family in Iran are exempt from the measures.

Canada also imposed an embargo on Iran's petrochemical, oil and gas industry, and added "the known leadership of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard" to a list of individuals targeted by sanctions.

In a statement, the foreign ministry said its third round of sanctions aimed at Tehran since July are in response to a report by the UN nuclear watchdog strongly suggesting Iran was researching atomic weapons.

"It is yet more proof that the current regime in Tehran poses the most significant threats to global peace and security today," Foreign Minister John Baird said in a statement.

"We are compelled to take further action as a result."

The move is part of an apparent coordinated effort by Western governments to isolate Iran in the absence of further multilateral UN sanctions.

Britain earlier announced it was severing links with Iranian banks because of evidence that they are involved in the development of a nuclear weapons program.

France followed hours later in calling for a freeze of Iran's central bank assets and an oil embargo to persuade Tehran to scrap its nuclear program.

The United States said it would follow Britain and France later Monday with new restrictions on Iran, expected to target the financial, oil and petrochemical sectors.

Iran insists its nuclear program is peaceful and solely for civilian energy purposes.

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