Having made little progress in talks with Iran over its nuclear program, the EU has decided to increase pressure on Tehran by tightening sanctions.
Yesterday in Luxembourg, EU foreign ministers approved the improvements to the sanctions which close existing loopholes, and will focus on the finance, energy, and transport industries. They also took action to freeze the assets of 34 Iranian corporations in an attempt to restrict the ability of Ahmadinejad’s government to raise funds for further nuclear research and development.
The UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said of the new sanctions that “the EU’s message today is clear: Iran should not underestimate our resolve. We will continue to do all we can to increase the peaceful pressure on Iran to change course and to return to talks ready to reach a negotiated solution by addressing the world’s concerns.”
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle stated that “we want a political and diplomatic solution. Sanctions are beginning to work. That sanctions are beginning to work shows that a political and diplomatic solution is possible. So far, we haven’t seen sufficient readiness for substantial talks on the atomic program.”
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The EU’s new round of sanctions prohibit all transactions between EU and Iranian banks, except for those transactions given specific permission by national authorities; existing restrictions were also tightened on Iran’s central bank. The new sanctions aim to make things far more difficult for Iran’s nuclear program by banning the export of materials to Iran which could be used in nuclear programs, such as graphite, aluminium, steel, and industrial software.
Europe doesn’t deny Iran the right to develop its own electricity generating nuclear power sector, it only asks that it gives up on any ambitions to develop nuclear weapons.
By. James Burgess of Oilprice.com
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