European Union Expands Punishing Sanctions on Iran

October 15, 2012 – New York – AJ C called the latest round of European Union sanctions against Iran “a necessary step in the global effort to stop the Iranian regime’s steady march towards building the capacity to produce nuclear weapons.”

The 27-member state EU adopted today additional sanctions that step up the already punishing measures against Iran’s banking and energy sectors. The EU reiterated its “serious and deepening concerns over Iran’s nuclear program and the urgent need for Iran to comply with all its international obligations.”

Iran has defiantly ignored UN Security Council and International Atomic Energy Agency resolutions, and effectively blocked any possible progress in three rounds of negotiations this year with the P5+1group – Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia, and the U.S.

“The EU, by its actions today, has told not only the Iranian regime, but the world, that Iran will pay an ever higher price for disregarding UN calls to suspend uranium enrichment,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris, who last week met with top government officials in Spain and Portugal, two EU member states.

In Madrid and Lisbon, and in 70 individual meetings with heads of state and foreign ministers in New York last month for the UN General Assembly, concerns about Iran’s nuclear program topped the agenda. “The Iranian nuclear threat is viewed broadly across the Middle East and around the world as the most serious current danger to regional and global security,” said Harris.

Growing distrust of Iran’s nuclear intentions has moved the EU, as well as the U.S., to regularly increase and expand the sanctions against Iran. Among the series of measures adopted today is a prohibition on transactions between European and Iranian banks “to ensure that EU financial institutions do not process funds that could contribute to Iran’s nuclear program or to the development of ballistic missiles.”

 The new EU measures also ban the import of natural gas, and prohibit the export to Iran of graphite, aluminium, steel and other materials relevant to the Iranian nuclear and ballistic programs or to industries controlled by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. And, in a further step to curb Iran’s oil exports, ships belonging to EU citizens and companies will no longer be available for transporting or storing Iranian oil and petrochemical products.

In July the EU suspended importing oil from Iran and earlier this year stopped dealings with Iran’s Central Bank. All of the EU steps regarding Iran are in tandem with sanctions imposed by the United States.