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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German industry has been strongly involved in the energy sector, and Berlin, wary of imposing the sanctions, argued that it would simply forfeit the business, which would go to China instead.Skip to next paragraph
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According to the European Voice, a Brussels-based weekly newspaper, the EU maintains that the option of nuclear talks with Tehran remain open. The paper quotes an EU diplomat as saying, “sanctions are not a punishment but a means to change behaviour.”
“The carrot and stick policy of the EU is wrong and illogical because such measures would not resolve the issue [Iran’s nuclear row with the West],” Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told a weekly news conference….
“Sanctions will not stop Iran’s nuclear work. Sanctions will make us more decisive to become self-sufficient,” Mehmanparast said.
The EU sanctions follow moves by the US on Wednesday to widen sanctions against Iran’s banking, energy, and military sectors, reports The Wall Street Journal. The state-owned Post Bank of Iran became the sixteenth Iranian bank to be cut off from the international financial system. More specific sanctions target the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which oversees a majority of Tehran's weapons programs.
Among those sanctioned were the IRGC's commander, Mohammad Ali Jafari, and Mohammed Reza Naqdi, the head of the Revolutionary Guard's nationwide paramilitary organization, the Basij Resistance Force. Both entities are alleged by US and European officials and by Iranian dissidents to have played a leading role in suppressing anti regime demonstrators who protested Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's re-election a year ago.
US officials said the measures also are aimed at cutting off the IRGC's funding abilities. Two companies designated Wednesday are subsidiaries of Khatam al-Anbiya Construction Headquarters, a holding company believed to generate significant funds for the IRGC through its construction, telecommunications and engineering lines.