Iran Nuclear NewsEU envoys close to agreement on Iran sanctions

EU envoys close to agreement on Iran sanctions

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AFP: The European Union moved closer Thursday to an agreement on the precise details of the sanctions it will impose on Iran over its refusal to halt its nuclear programme, EU diplomats said.

BRUSSELS (AFP) — The European Union moved closer Thursday to an agreement on the precise details of the sanctions it will impose on Iran over its refusal to halt its nuclear programme, EU diplomats said.

Ambassadors from the EU’s 27 member states met in Brussels to discuss the sanctions, which include measures against the oil and gas industry and are expected to be approved at a meeting of foreign ministers on Monday.

“There was an agreement on the broad outlines,” one diplomat said, adding that there was “just a few technical details or formulations to finalise.”

The UN Security Council imposed a fourth set of sanctions on Tehran in early June, but EU leaders agreed shortly after to impose their own penalties against the Iranian energy sector.

EU leaders agreed at a June 17 summit to impose a ban on new investment, technical assistance and technology transfers to Iran’s huge gas and oil industry, particularly for refining and liquefied natural gas.

Iran is the world’s fourth largest producer of crude oil but it imports 40 percent of its fuel needs because it lacks enough refining capabilities to meet demand.

The EU measures also target the Islamic republic’s transportation, banking and insurance sectors, and slap new visa bans and asset freezes on the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

The sanctions must be approved by EU foreign ministers to come into force.

Western powers have demanded that Iran suspend its uranium enrichment programme, fearing that Tehran would use the material to build a nuclear bomb. Tehran says that its atomic programme is a peaceful drive to produce energy.

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