Iran Nuclear NewsIran condemns new EU sanctions on energy sector

Iran condemns new EU sanctions on energy sector

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AFP: Iran “deeply regrets and condemns” a new set of tough European Union sanctions aimed at pressuring Tehran to resume talks on its controversial nuclear programme, a foreign ministry spokesman said Tuesday.

TEHRAN (AFP) — Iran “deeply regrets and condemns” a new set of tough European Union sanctions aimed at pressuring Tehran to resume talks on its controversial nuclear programme, a foreign ministry spokesman said Tuesday.

“These sanctions will not help in resuming talks and will not affect Iran’s determination to defend its legitimate right to pursue a peaceful nuclear programme,” Ramin Mehmanparast was quoted as saying by the official Irna news agency.

He said they would “not help in advancing the talks”.

The EU’s new sanctions on Iran’s key oil and gas industry are aimed at reviving stalled talks between Tehran and six world powers — Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the US.

The punitive measures include a ban on the sale of equipment, technology and services to Iran’s energy sector, hitting activities in refining, liquefied natural gas, exploration and production, EU diplomats said.

New investments in the energy sector are also banned.

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

The Iranian banking sector was also hit by restrictions, forcing any transactions over 40,000 euros (52,000 dollars) to be authorised by EU governments before they can go ahead.

The last high-level meeting between Iran and the six world powers was held in Geneva in October 2009 when the two sides agreed a nuclear fuel swap that has since stalled.

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 its atomic programme is a peaceful drive to produce energy.

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