• Iran and its powerful ally Russia slammed new Western sanctions imposed on Tehran over its susect nuclear programme, saying they were illegal and futile.

  • The unilateral measures against Iran's financial, petrochemical and energy sectors announced Monday by the United States, Britain and Canada amounted merely to "propaganda and psychological warfare.

  • Russia -- which with China had blocked any possibility of the Western steps going before the UN Security Council for approval -- took a sterner view, saying in a foreign ministry statement the sanctions were "unacceptable and against international law. 

  • Iran, which has dismissed the IAEA report as "baseless" and biased, insists its nuclear programme is for exclusively peaceful, civilian purposes.

  • The country is already subject to four sets of UN sanctions designed to force it to give up uranium enrichment, along with additional, unilateral sanctions by the United States and the European Union.

  • London said it was "ceasing all contact" between its financial system and that of Iran.

  • Canada said it was halting "virtually all transactions" with Iran.

  • France said it, too, was "in favour of new unprecedented sanctions.

  • Iran's economy, worth an estimated $480 billion according to the International Monetary Fund, is highly dependent on oil sales, which make up around 70 percent of government revenues. The country is the second-biggest producer in OPEC, after Saudi Arabia.