EU agrees to step up Iran N-sanctions: diplomats
13 October, 2012
BRUSSELS: EU member states agreed on Friday to sharply step up sanctions against Iran over its disputed nuclear programme, focusing on dealings with its banks, trade and gas imports, diplomatic sources said.
One diplomat said the "tough package" of new sanctions will be endorsed at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg on Monday. A diplomat who asked not to be named said ministers will agree for the first time to hit Iran's telecoms sector, targeting companies believed to provide financial support for Tehran.
All dealings between European and Iranian banks will meanwhile be banned above a certain "relatively low" threshold, although exceptions will be allowed in some medical and humanitarian cases, the diplomat said.
Short-term export credit guarantees will be also barred, joining the medium- and long-term guarantees already banned. Imports of Iranian gas will be prohibited, a symbolic gesture since the amounts involved are small, but the move sits alongside a much more significant ban on imports of Iranian oil introduced in July. Sales of graphite or aluminium which could be used in Iran's nuclear or ballistic missile programmes are also to be closed down, with other measures targetting its shipping industry.