U.S., UK, Canada to announce coordinated sanctions targeting Iran's petrochemical industry

U.S. officials familiar with the plans say they target Iran’s nuclear sector as well as plugging key gaps that have allowed Iran to work around existing sanctions on its energy and financial sectors. The United Kingdom and Canada are both expected to announce unilateral measures to limit Iran’s access to their economies, with the UK essentially cutting off Iran’s access to its financial sector…

Two U.S. officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity given the diplomatic sensitivities involved, say the State Department will sanction Iran’s petrochemical industry, which is normally used to produce products like plastic and styrofoam but is increasingly used to refine petroleum, as international sanctions have constrained the capacity of Iran’s energy sector. The new measure aims to discourage foreign companies from investing in that industry because it could inadvertently aid Iran’s energy sector and undermine previous sanctions.

The State Department is also expected to target both foreign and Iranian entities, many controlled by the Revolutionary Guard Corps, that have begun to help out with critical tasks in Iran’s oil and gas sector, picking up the slack as foreign companies pull out for fear of running afoul of sanctions.