EU brings new Iran sanctions targeting nuclear program


High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton speaks with German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle before an EU Foreign Affairs Ministers meeting on Oct. 15, 2012 in Luxembourg. EU foreign ministers are meeting to discuss new sanctions against Iran and Syria, the situation in Mali and the Sahel region of north Africa.



The European Union on Monday imposed a new batch of sanctions against Iran in its latest attempt to curb the Islamic republic's nuclear program.

The BBC reported that EU foreign ministers "significantly broadened EU restrictive measures" to focus on Iranian banks, trade and gas exports, according to officials. Ministers from the 27 countries of the EU are meeting in Luxembourg this week.

The ministers maintained in a statement that Iran is “acting in flagrant violation of its international obligations,” especially in its refusal to cooperate with international nuclear inspectors.

According to the Associated Press, the sanctions also levy trade restrictions on companies that are "active in the oil and gas industry." That includes banning the import of natural gas into EU countries from Iran, the AP reported.

Reuters wrote that the choice to ratchet up sanctions against Iran "reflected mounting concerns over Iran's nuclear intentions and Israeli threats to attack Iranian atomic installations if a mix of sanctions and diplomacy proves fruitless in ushering in a peaceful solution." The EU's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, told Reuters that the EU hopes the move will push Iran to negotiate over its nuclear program.

Previous, "reinforced" sanctions against Iran also compelled Eutelsat, a European satellite provider, to cut broadcasts from 19 Iranian television and radio broadcasters on Monday, the AP reported.

EU foreign ministers are also discussing sanctions against Syria and the security situation in Mali and the Sahel region of northern Africa.