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Berlin to EU: 'Get tougher on Iran'

The Local · 14 Oct 2012, 11:17

Published: 14 Oct 2012 11:17 GMT+02:00

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"Iran has not moved on any of the important questions over the past few months. Therefore, we must increase the sanctions pressure," Guido Westerwelle said in a statement.

"By imposing further sanctions, we want the EU tomorrow to send a clear signal to Tehran," said the minister, adding that there was still the opportunity for negotiation.

The offer remains for "substantial talks with the clear goal of stopping Iran having a nuclear weapon," said Westerwelle.

"It is time for a political solution," he stressed.

Diplomatic sources said last week that EU member states had agreed to step up sanctions against Iran, focusing on dealings with banks, trade and gas imports.

One diplomat said the "tough package" of new sanctions would be endorsed at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg on Monday.

A diplomat who asked not to be named said ministers will agree for the first time to hit Iran's telecoms sector, aiming at companies believed to provide financial support for Tehran.

All dealings between European and Iranian banks will meanwhile be banned above a certain "relatively low" threshold, although exceptions will be allowed in some medical and humanitarian cases, the diplomat said.

Short-term export credit guarantees will be also barred, joining the medium- and long-term guarantees already banned.

Many in the international community suspect that Iran's nuclear programme is aimed at developing atomic weapons, a charge which Tehran denies, saying its activities are peaceful.

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It has refused to suspend the most controversial parts of its programme, most notably uranium enrichment, as called for under multiple UN Security Council resolutions.

This is in spite of four rounds of UN sanctions and additional US and EU measures this year that have hit its economy hard, and the looming threat of Israeli military action, possibly backed by Washington.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

19:04 October 14, 2012 by Englishted
Guido Westerwelle should visit there himself as there is a famous quote from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad about there being no gays in Iran ,and maybe he would start a new trend of openness.
22:23 October 14, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
I wish Westerwelle went to Iran also but not for the reasons you give Englisted
00:44 October 15, 2012 by Onlythetruth
This is going down to the wire as the arabs pretty much invented bargaining brinksmanship. Whats clear is that the iranian regime will do and suffer almost anything to get the bomb and of course they must not be allowed to have it. I think almost everyone knows that the poo will hit the fan soon after the US election. The question is whether the iranians can assemble a bomb beforehand which would make them immune to any military strike. It will be a race down to the wire indeed as the mullahs scramble to make a bomb at the very earliest possible date. International drama at its most gripping.
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