By Foreign Affairs Correspondent Jill Dougherty
The United States will name Iran, as well as its Central Bank, as a “primary money laundering concern,” on Monday but not place sanctions directly on the central bank, a senior Treasury Department official tells CNN.
The U.S. will also sanction a number of Iranian companies allegedly supporting Iran’s nuclear program, the senior Treasury Department official said.
The announcement comes on the same day Britain cut all financial ties with Iran over concerns about Iran's nuclear program, the first time it has ever cut an entire country's banking sector off from British finance, the British Treasury announced. Canada also announced new sanctions.
The Treasury Department released a statement saying that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be make remarks at 430p ET Monday to "outline new steps the United States is taking to increase pressure on Iran."
The actions come in response to a recent report by the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) which expressed serious concern over what it said was Iran’s continuing work on its nuclear program.
Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak told CNN's Fareed Zakaria that Iran is probably less than a year away from being at a point that it will be too late to stop its nuclear program.
"It's true that it wouldn't take three years, probably three quarters, before no one can do anything practically about it because the Iranians are gradually, deliberately entering into what I call a zone of immunity, by widening the – the redundancy of their plan, making it spread over many more sides," Barak said on Fareed Zakaria GPS.
U.S. has been considering action against the Central Bank of Iran but officials became concerned that a full sanction could have a negative effect on the world economy because of the potential impact on oil prices.
This weekend, Elise Labott reported the US will impose fresh sanctions against Iran’s petrochemical industry, citing diplomatic sources.