The European Union has taken aim at Iran’s nuclear program, with a ban on Iranian crude oil imports.
The embargo is part of an expanded package of sanctions to dissuade Iran from pursuing nuclear power.
EU foreign ministers met in Brussels on Monday, saying the move is designed to put pressure on Tehran by closing off its main source of foreign income.
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EU Foreign Policy Chief, Catherine Ashton, explains the move:
“The pressure of sanctions are designed to try to make sure that Iran takes seriously our request to come to the table and meet. And you will know from everything I have been saying in the last weeks the importance we attach to them either coming back to talk about the issues we left on the table in Istanbul a year ago or indeed to put forward their own proposals.”
Britain said the new sanctions were justified as long as Iran continued to breach UN Security Council resolutions.
British Foreign Secretary, William Hague, states:
“This shows the resolve of the European Union on this issue and on the international community. And it’s absolutely right to do this in view of Iran’s continued breach of UN Security Council resolutions and its refusal to come to meaningful negotiations on the nuclear program.”
Iran, already under UN sanctions for its program, has long said it will use nuclear power for energy creation and medical applications.
But Western leaders say it is actually seeking to develop weapons, against international law.
The Atomic Energy Agency announced it’s still planning to send a team to Iran at the end of the month to discuss allegations of nuclear weapons research.