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British Foreign Minister William Hague (right) and Czech Republic's Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg at the meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels this morning AP Photo/Virginia Mayo
Sanctions

EU agrees oil embargo against Iran over nuclear programme

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said it was part of an “unprecedented set of sanctions” against Iran.

European Union nations have formally adopted an oil embargo against Iran as part of sanctions over its nuclear programme.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague this morning called the measure part of “an unprecedented set of sanctions.”

He says, “I think this shows the resolve of the European Union on this issue.”

Diplomats say the measures, adopted by the EU’s 27 foreign ministers, include an immediate embargo on new contracts for crude oil and petroleum products while existing ones are allowed to run until July.

Iran says its nuclear program is exclusively for peaceful purposes. But many international officials fear the country is trying to develop nuclear weapons.

The EU will also likely freeze the assets of the Iranian central bank.

“The pressure of sanctions is designed to try and make sure that Iran takes seriously our request to come to the table,” EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said.

Negotiators have worked hard to try to ensure that the embargo punishes only Iran — and not EU member Greece, which is in dire financial trouble and relies heavily on low-priced Iranian oil.

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Author
Associated Foreign Press
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