Iran Nuclear NewsEurope approves more sanctions against Iran

Europe approves more sanctions against Iran

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New York Times: In the latest effort to force Iran to curb its uranium enrichment activities, European Union foreign ministers on Monday approved a second phase of United Nations sanctions. Included in the package were a ban on Iranian arms exports and the freezing of the assets of 28 additional individuals and organizations. The New York Times

By DAN BILEFSKY
Published: April 24, 2007

BRUSSELS, April 23 — In the latest effort to force Iran to curb its uranium enrichment activities, European Union foreign ministers on Monday approved a second phase of United Nations sanctions. Included in the package were a ban on Iranian arms exports and the freezing of the assets of 28 additional individuals and organizations.

European officials said the sanctions, adopted by the United Nations Security Council in March, would impose travel restrictions on individuals, ban arms sales to Iran and block new financial assistance and loans to the Iranian government. They said one-third of the people affected by the asset freeze had links to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, its elite military corps.

Also on Monday, Javier Solana, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, said he would meet with the top Iranian negotiator, Ali Larijani, on Wednesday in Ankara, Turkey, in hopes of persuading Iran to abandon its nuclear program and resume full-scale negotiations with the international community. It would be their first meeting since the United Nations imposed sanctions.

The European Union dangled the possibility of lifting the sanctions if Tehran froze its enrichment work. But European diplomats said they were skeptical that any breakthrough was imminent, especially after Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, warned Monday that Europe should distance itself from Washington.

In an interview on Spanish television, Mr. Ahmadinejad said that Iran did not need a European Union “that translated the words of the United States to us.” He added: “There are some countries which want a monopoly of production of nuclear fuel, and I think that’s the root of all the problems.”

After the Security Council’s unanimous approval of sanctions, Tehran denounced the action as illegal and announced that it would limit cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations nuclear oversight agency.

According to the agency, Iran has now begun enriching small amounts of uranium in more than 1,300 centrifuges. Iran says it will soon have installed 3,000 of the machines, which can be used to provide nuclear fuel to power reactors, or can produce fuel for a weapon.

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