Brussels: European leaders on Thursday imposed
new sanctions on Iran that went even further than UN punitive
measures in a bid to pile pressure on Tehran over its nuclear
programme, diplomatic sources said.
The new European Union sanctions include a ban on new
investment, technical assistance and technology transfers to
Iran`s key gas and oil industry, particularly as regards
refining and liquefied natural gas, according to the text.
Iran has the world`s second-largest reserves of natural
gas and is OPEC`s second largest oil exporter. Global energy
majors have come under increased international pressure over
their activities in the country.
The new EU measures also target the Islamic Republic`s
transportation, banking and insurance sectors and slaps new
visa bans and asset freezes on the Islamic Revolutionary Guard
The move came the day after the United States added
Iranian individuals and firms to a blacklist and one week
after the UN Security Council slapped its fourth set of
sanctions on Iran over its refusal to halt nuclear activities.
In an agreed text the EU leaders expressed their
"deepening concerns about Iran`s nuclear programme."
Tehran says the programme is purely for civilian
purposes, but Israel and Western powers fear it may be trying
to develop nuclear weapons that would tip the balance of power
in the Middle East.