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The Iranian embassy in London.
The Iranian embassy in London.
Image: AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA Images

EU agrees new Iran sanctions - but no oil embargo

Today’s sanctions follow increasing tensions between EU members and Iran after Britain’s embassy in Tehran was attacked on Tuesday.
Dec 1st 2011, 2:12 PM 1,151 9

EU FOREIGN ministers have agreed to impose a range of new sanctions against Iranian citizens and companies, but did not agree to impose an embargo on Iranian oil.

France had indicated it would push for an embargo ahead of today’s meeting in an effort to cut potential funding for Iran’s nuclear programme.

The sanctions agreed today are being imposed against 180 individuals and companies.

A number of EU members have been stepping up their pressure on Iran in recent days. Britain’s foreign secretary William Hague yesterday announced the immediate closure of the Iranian embassy and the expulsion of all Iranian diplomats from the UK following an attack on the British embassy in Tehran.

Britain has already withdrawn its diplomatic staff from Iran. Iran’s Fars news agency reported yesterday that the “according to the rules of tit-for-tat diplomacy” Iran would order the expulsion of Britain’s diplomats.

It was reported the embassy was attacked by a group of angry demonstrators protesting Britain’s recent economic sanctions against Iran which involve cutting transactions between British and Iranian financial institutions.

Earlier today, Iranian authorities released 11 students arrested over the attacks.

Yesterday, France, Germany and the Netherlands recalled their ambassadors to Iran for consultations after the British embassy attack.

The US department of state said in a press briefing yesterday that so far as it was aware, the intermediary it uses to communicate with Tehran – the Swiss – intends to remain there.

Tensions between Europe and the US and Iran have increased since the release of a recent report by the UN’s nuclear watchdog (the IAEA) which suggesting Iran was moving towards the development of a nuclear weapon. Tehran dismissed the report and accused the IAEA of acting as an American pawn.

It has repeatedly insisted that its nuclear programme is focused on energy generation and not the development of nuclear arms.

- Additional reporting by the AP

Read more: European powers pressure Iran following embassy attack >

Read: UK expels all Iranian diplomats, closes embassy >

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Susan Ryan

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