Iran Condemns New EU Sanctions
View of Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant in Southern Iran
Iran says its nuclear program is strictly for peaceful purposes
Tehran says the new sanctions levied upon it by the European Union will make it
harder to solve the crisis over Iran's nuclear program.
"These sanctions will neither help resumption of negotiations nor change the
will of the Iranian nation to pursue its legitimate nuclear rights," Iranian
Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said.
He added "Iran considers the latest EU move as another step toward enmity with
the Iranian nations." He also warned it would have a "negative consequence for
the initiators of these sanctions."
On July 26, EU ministers in Brussels approved a list of measures intended to
give bite to the UN-approved sanctions regime on Iran.
The measures take advantage of the EU's position as Iran's largest foreign
trading partner to apply the strongest financial leverage yet on Tehran to give
up uranium enrichment and other controversial aspects of its nuclear program.
"Of course, it's never good for export nations when such sanctions have to be
decided. It's not good for us either," German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle
said as the measures were announced.
"But it would be much worse to allow Iran to get nuclear weapons," he added.
"Those who only speak about costs resulting from the sanctions don't look far
enough. One must also consider the costs, which would be, by far, more dramatic
which would occur if Iran got nuclear weapons."
Targeting Energy, Finance
Most directly targeted are Iran's energy sector and its shipping industry.
The new sanctions forbid the sale and supply or transfer of energy equipment and
technology used by Iran for refining, liquefying natural gas, exploration, and
Experts predict that without new Western technology, Iran's energy sector will
continue to decline in productivity even while the sanctions regime allows
Tehran to continue exporting energy to Europe.
The sanctions also forbid European companies from insuring or reinsuring Iranian
state businesses, including its shipping industry. That will notably make it
more difficult for Iran to import gasoline and other consumer fuel products.
Currently, Iran imports 40 percent of the fuel it needs because it lacks enough
refining capabilities to meet domestic demand.
Additional sanctions require EU member states to monitor Iranian banks operating
in Europe, including requiring governmental authorization for any financial
transfers exceeding 40,000 euros ($52,000).
And, European airports will bar any cargo flights to or from Iran except those
in which limited amounts of cargo are carried on passenger planes.
Shortly after the new EU measures were announced on July 26, Canada followed
suit with similar measures barring new investment in Iran's energy sector.
For its part, Russia's Foreign Ministry issued a statement today blasting
the new EU sanctions. Moscow said it strongly opposed unilateral or
collective sanctions against Iran that go beyond the current UN Security Council
Bring Iran Back To The Table
The question now is whether the sanctions will force Iran back to the nuclear
bargaining table as intended.
Iran's immediate condemnation of the sanctions might suggest there is little
prospect for new dialogue.
But Iran's broadside today contrasts with Tehran's own last-minute efforts to
signal negotiation was still possible as the sanctions were announced.
Iran's envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency said on July 26 that
Tehran was ready for "prompt talks without any preconditions" if the
international community wanted to resume discussion of a stalled nuclear
That deal, brokered by Turkey and Brazil, centers on Iran giving up large
amounts of its already enriched uranium in exchange for nuclear fuel Tehran
needs to produce medical isotopes.
The deal broke down earlier this year over Western objections that it did not
require Tehran to stop uranium enrichment. It stalled completely after the
United Nations instead passed in June a fourth round of sanctions against
Yet another sign that negotiations could yet resume is Iran's statement earlier
this month that talks might begin in September. That came after EU
foreign-affairs chief Catherine Ashton sent a letter to Iran's chief nuclear
negotiator, Said Jalili.
But the larger question of whether Iran would agree in any new talks to stop its
uranium-enrichment program -- or whether it would simply stick to its previous
position of focusing only on a fuel swap -- remains to be answered.
It is in hopes of pushing Iran into stopping uranium enrichment as the essential
part of any new deal that the EU is now piling on economic pressure. The new
sanctions legally come into force starting on July 27.
compiled from agency reports
Copyright (c) 2010 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org
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