The UK has asked all finance companies to cease trading with Bank Mellat and the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines over allegations linking them to nuclear development.

According to reports, the shipping company transported goods for Iran’s ballistic missile and nuclear programmes while Bank Mellat provided services to a UN-listed organisation linked to Iran’s proliferation-sensitive activities.

“Financial and credit institutions will no longer be able to enter into new transactions or business relationships with these entities or continue with existing transactions or business relationships unless they are licensed by the Treasury,” a statement published on the Treasury’s website said.

Iran is under three sets of UN sanctions for refusing to stop production of enriched uranium, which can be used to power a reactor or form the core of a bomb.

Iran, however has denied these allegations saying it needs enriched uranium for civilian uses, such as generating electricity.