WASHINGTON, June 4 (RAPSI) - The United States has introduced additional sanctions against Iran designed to prevent Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons, the White House has announced on Tuesday.

The sanctions target any "foreign financial institutions that knowingly conduct or facilitate significant transactions for the purchase or sale of the Iranian rial, or that maintain significant accounts outside Iran denominated in the Iranian rial," reads a statement issued yesterday by the White House Press Secretary.

"While the rial has lost half of its value since the beginning of 2012 as a result of our comprehensive sanctions, this is the first time that trade in the rial has been targeted directly for sanctions," the statement continues.

The sanctions will go into effect on July 1.

Sanctions have also been imposed on "the sale, supply, or transfer to Iran of significant goods or services used in connection with the manufacturing or assembling in Iran of light and heavy vehicles including passenger cars, trucks, buses, minibuses, pick-up trucks, and motorcycles."

The president's executive order also "authorizes the imposition of additional sanctions on persons who provide material support to Iranian persons and certain other persons (...) on the list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN List)."

"This provision includes an exception for certain Iranian depository institutions and certain activities relating to the pipeline project to supply natural gas from the Shah Deniz gas field in Azerbaijan to Europe and Turkey," the statement reads.

The United States suspects that Iran is trying to create nuclear weapons. On this basis, the US is pressuring the UN to toughen sanctions against the country, At the same time, the White House is also toughening its own unilateral sanctions against Iran.