EU set to follow US in upping sanctions on Iran
Iran is facing sanctions well beyond what the United Nations Security Council approved June 9. EU heads are today expected to follow the US in approving new sanctions to target Iran's energy and financial sectors.
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European Union leaders are today expected to adopt tougher sanctions against Iran in a further effort to stall its nuclear program. The EU sanctions follow the Obama administration's expansion of sanctions to target Iran’s nuclear and missile programs, state-controlled banks, companies accused of supporting proliferation activities, and the Revolutionary Guard Corps.
That fourth round of UN-approved sanctions was watered down to gain support from China and Russia. The intent is to punish Tehran for planning to enrich uranium to 20 percent by disrupting the money flow to Iran's Revolutionary Guard. It called for an asset freeze on 40 companies and organizations involved in nuclear or ballistic missile activities.
According to the Associated Press, the new EU measures "will target Iran's oil industry, shipping and air cargo companies, and dual-use products that could be utilized as part of the nuclear program. More sanctions will also be imposed on trade insurance and financial transactions."
Given the differing interests of EU member states, deciding which new sanctions to impose on Iran was a challenge, particularly since new measures will hurt European companies keen to invest in Iran’s oil and gas sector, the Guardian reported:
Despite objections from Sweden – which argues against sanctions as an effective foreign policy tool – reservations from Spain and Cyprus, and, crucially, reluctance in Germany, whose businesses are heavily engaged in the Iranian energy sector, the EU declaration calls for extra sanctions over and above those agreed in New York last week….