World Bulletin / News Desk
European Union governments agreed further sanctions against Iran's banking, shipping and industrial sectors on Monday.
The new sanctions mark one of the toughest moves against Iran by Europe to date and a significant change of policy for the 27-member bloc, which hitherto focused on targeting specific people and companies with economic restrictions.
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said she hoped that turning up the heat on the Islamic Republic would persuade it to make concessions and that negotiations could resume "very soon".
"I absolutely do think there is room for negotiations," said Ashton, who represents the United States, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany in their on-and-off talks with Iran. "I hope we will be able to make progress very soon."
The widening sanctions regime is already doing significant damage to the Iranian economy, notably due to an oil embargo imposed by the European Union this year and new financial sanctions applied by the United States.
The new European measures include a general ban on financial transactions, with some exceptions for those involving humanitarian aid, food and medicine purchases and provisions for legitimate trade, an EU diplomat said.
In a reversal of existing European policy, the ban will require European traders to apply to their governments for authorisation before they can finance any transactions in permitted goods. Previously, the EU's more narrow approach was to allow trade broadly while prohibiting specific products.
Trade will be hampered further by a new ban on European governments extending short-term trade guarantees.Güncelleme Tarihi: 15 Ekim 2012, 18:04