Brussels: European Union lawmakers sought to pressure the bloc's chief diplomat Tuesday to step up sanctions against Iran after failed talks over its disputed nuclear drive.
After EU High Representative Catherine Ashton "left Istanbul empty-handed last weekend," Scottish Conservative Struan Stevenson called for the European Union "to impose tougher sanctions on the clerical regime for its flagrant human rights violations, continuous drive to acquire nuclear weapons and export of terrorism."
Leading Spanish MEP Alejo Vidal-Quadras added that the ongoing "soft" approach to talks between Western powers and Tehran would only prove "futile," after the pair and others met with Iranian opposition figures in Brussels and US backers of an Iranian opposition movement.
The call comes as diplomats and analysts query whether fresh sanctions should be applied by the West over Iran's disputed nuclear drive, after the latest talks between world powers collapsed in Istanbul at the weekend.
Nuclear talks in Istanbul between Iran and the so-called P5+1 -- UN Security Council permanent members Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, plus Germany -- failed to yield results at their close on Saturday.
The dialogue was aimed at ascertaining whether Iran's contentious nuclear drive masks a weapons drive as suspected by the West, but staunchly denied by the Islamic republic.
The People's Mujahedeen, a left-wing and Islamic movement, was founded in 1965 in opposition to the shah and has subsequently fought to oust the clerical regime that took power in Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution.
First Published: Tuesday, January 25, 2011, 23:48