Source: Radio Zamaneh
The European Union passed more sanctions against Iran today, Monday, at a meeting of foreign ministers in Luxembourg.
All transactions between European and Iranian banks are now under sanctions, and European countries are now banned from exporting to Iran industrial products such as graphite, iron, industrial software and goods linked to shipping.
More companies involved in Iran’s oil and gas industry, along with individuals linked to them, will face sanctions and travel restrictions, according to the latest EU announcement.
The EU has insisted that Iran must stop its uranium enrichment program as it could lead to the development of nuclear weapons.
Iran insists its nuclear program is peaceful but recently has shown some willingness to stop enriching uranium so long as fuel for its research reactor can be provided from abroad.
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has expressed optimism that negotiations with the Islamic Republic could resume “very soon.”
Reuters quoted Ashton as saying: “I absolutely do think there is room for negotiations... I hope we will be able to make progress very soon.”
The Iranian economy is going through a tumultuous period with a tumbling national currency and growing inflation.
Following is the official press release issues by the European Union in regards to the new sanctions:
COUCIL OF THE EUROPEA UIO
Luxembourg, 15 October 2012 14803/12 PRESSE 422
Iran: EU strengthens sanctions over lack of progress in nuclear talks
Given the EU's serious and deepening concerns over Iran's nuclear programme, the Council today significantly broadened EU restrictive measures against that country.
The Council today reiterated its "serious and deepening concerns over Iran's nuclear programme and the urgent need for Iran to comply with all its international obligations". At the same time, it reaffirmed the EU's "longstanding commitment to work for a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear issue in accordance with the dual track approach".
The objective of the EU remains to achieve a comprehensive, negotiated, longterm settlement which restores international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear programme, while respecting Iran's legitimate right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy under the Non Proliferation Treaty.
Today's decisions target Iran's nuclear and ballistic programmes and the revenues of the Iranian government for these programmes. They are meant to persuade Iran to engage constructively by negotiating seriously and addressing the concerns of the international community. The sanctions are not aimed at the Iranian people.
In particular, the Council took further measures to ensure that EU financial institutions do not process funds that could contribute to Iran's nuclear programme or to the development of ballistic missiles. Therefore it prohibited all transactions between European and Iranian banks, unless they are explicitly authorised in advance by national authorities under strict conditions. Under these conditions, authorised trade can continue. In addition, the Council has decided to strengthen the restrictive measures against the Central Bank of Iran.
The Council also banned the export to Iran of further materials relevant to the Iranian nuclear and ballistic programmes or to industries controlled by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. This concerns in particular graphite, raw or semifinished metals, such as
aluminium and steel, as well as software for integrating industrial processes. The prohibition also includes related technical or financial assistance.
The Council also banned the import of natural gas from Iran into the EU. This concerns import, purchase and transport of gas, as well as finance and insurance related to these activities. In addition, the Council agreed to broaden the existing export ban on key equipment for the Iranian oil, gas and petrochemical industries.
Vessels belonging to EU citizens and companies may no longer be used for transporting or storing Iranian oil and petrochemical products. Further, the involvement of EU industries in the construction of new oil tankers for Iran will no longer be permitted and key naval equipment and technology for ship building and maintenance can no longer be supplied to Iran. The Council also banned flagging and classification services for Iranian oil tankers and cargo vessels.
EU member states also decided to stop supporting trade with Iran through new shortterm export credits, guarantees or insurance. Mediumand longterm commitments were already previously prohibited.
Finally, the Council targeted 34 additional Iranian entities providing substantial financial support to the Iranian government and one person involved in the Iranian nuclear programme with an asset freeze and a travel ban. This concerns notably entities active in the oil and gas industry and in the financial sector.
Implementing legislation, which the Council still has to adopt, will define precisely which items are covered by the export bans.
Today's decisions, together with the list of additional designations, will be published in the Official Journal of 16 October 2012.
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