EU Puts Fresh Sanctions on Iran
From New Europe Online
On October 15, European Union ministers agreed a new set of sanctions against Iran that ban natural gas imports from the Islamic Republic. The EU measures ban financial transactions with Iranian banks unless the transfers deal with humanitarian goods and are approved in advance. They also include tighter restrictions on business with Iran’s Central Bank, a ban on importing Iranian natural gas, and a ban on sending graphite and metals that Iran could use for its weapons programme.
Among the more than 30 firms and institutions listed in the EU’s Official Journal as targets for asset freezes in Europe were the gigantic National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), one of the world’s largest crude exporters, and the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC). Justifying the decision, EU governments said both NIOC and NITC provide financial support to the government.
A press officer for EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton told New Europe on 18 October that the measures against Iranian energy companies follow and enhance earlier measures in Iran’s energy sector such as in particular the oil embargo, and the new import ban on gas, which prevent any import to the EU of Iranian oil or gas. “The companies referred to are listed, which means that any assets in the EU are frozen and EU persons and entities cannot make funds available to them. The measure is in line with the policy to target the energy sector as it constitutes an important source of revenues of the Iranian regime which are used to finance the nuclear programme,” the press officer said.
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