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EU bans import of Iranian gas to European countries – German FM

RT [1]
Oct 15, 2012

EU governments have agreed to one of the toughest sets of sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program. German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has announced the EU is banning the import of Iranian natural gas into European Union countries.

The set of sanctions also includes a ban on financial transactions between European and Iranian banks, with some exceptions for those involving humanitarian aid, food, and medicine purchases.

“The [EU] Council has agreed additional restrictive measures in the financial, trade, energy and transport sectors, as well as additional designations, notably of entities active in the oil and gas industry,” a written statement issued by the European Union council said.

Further export restrictions were imposed on graphite, metals, and software for industrial processes. Restrictive measures were also made relating to Iran’s ship building industry.

The move is aimed at putting pressure on Iran to cooperate in talks regarding its nuclear program.

Prior to Monday’s meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said new sanctions would be “a sign of our resolve in the European Union that we will step up the pressure.”

The US and its allies have long accused Iran of using its nuclear program to develop atomic weapons, although Tehran says the program is solely for peaceful purposes.