x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

EU agrees to further Iran sanctions

The decision by EU foreign ministers reflected mounting concerns over Iran's nuclear intentions and Israeli threats to attack Iranian atomic installations if a mix of sanctions and diplomacy proves fruitless in ushering in a peaceful solution.

LUXEMBOURG // European Union governments agreed to further sanctions against Iran's banking, shipping and industrial sectors yesterday.

The decision by EU foreign ministers reflected mounting concerns over Iran's nuclear intentions and Israeli threats to attack Iranian atomic installations if a mix of sanctions and diplomacy proves fruitless in ushering in a peaceful solution.

The EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, said she hoped that turning up the heat on the Iran would persuade it to make concessions.

"I absolutely do think there is room for negotiations," said Ms Ashton, who represents the United States, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany in their on-and-off talks with Iran.

However, the German foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle, was more pessimistic.

"Iran is still playing for time," he said. Iran maintains that its nuclear project is for peaceful purposes only.

Separately, a leading European satellite provider took 19 Iranian television and radio broadcasters off the air yesterday as a result of EU sanctions aimed at punishing human-rights abusers. People in Iran still have access to most of the channels, operated by Iranian state broadcaster Irib, but they are no longer broadcast in Europe and elsewhere.

* With additional reporting by the Associated Press