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# sanctions - Thursday 24 November, 2011

Arab League issues ultimatum to Syria over violent crackdown

Syria has one day to sign an agreement allowing observers into the country or face economic sanctions.

# sanctions - Monday 21 November, 2011

Britain cuts relations with Iranian banks over nuclear fear

George Osborne said today’s move is to protect UK banks from being used to support Iran’s nuclear proliferation.

# sanctions - Friday 21 October, 2011

Hospitals told to improve fee collections - or face sanctions

Hospitals are currently owed more than €200 million in relation to patient private charges – €85 million of which is caused by consultants not signing off on insurance claims.

# sanctions - Sunday 16 October, 2011

Arab League to discuss suspending Syria

Officials have called an emergency meeting to discuss putting more pressure on Syria’s government to end its bloody crackdown on anti-regime protesters.

# sanctions - Saturday 17 September, 2011

UN approves Libya seat for former rebels

The UN gave strong backing to Libya’s former rebels yesterday by handing their National Transitional Council the country’s UN seat.

# sanctions - Wednesday 31 August, 2011

Over €1 billion being flown to Libya in cash after UN release assets

The UN Security Council’s Sanctions Committee had frozen Libyan assets after civil war broke out in mid-February 2011.

# sanctions - Thursday 18 August, 2011

Obama calls on Syria's Assad to 'step aside'

In a scathing written statement, the US President condemned Bashar Assad for his “ferocious brutality” and “slaughtering of his own people”.

# sanctions - Tuesday 2 August, 2011

Syria: As violence continues what will the UN do?

Meanwhile, Italy announced today it is recalling its ambassador to Syria. The Muslim holy month of Ramadan has so far seen no end to the violence.

# sanctions - Monday 23 May, 2011

EU tightens sanctions on Iran over nuclear programme

The EU is to impose asset freezes and travel bans on additional Iranian officials and companies over the country’s nuclear programme – meanwhile, Iran has announced it is to impose sanctions on the US over its “human rights violations”.

EU imposes sanctions on Syrian leader

President Bashar al-Assad, whose family has ruled the country for more than 40 years, will be banned from Europe and subject to asset freezes.

# sanctions - Tuesday 15 March, 2011

US imposes sanctions on Libya

The United States has banned business with Libya’s foreign minister and 16 companies that are owned or controled by the country’s government.

# sanctions - Wednesday 9 March, 2011

Cocoa producers caught up in Ivory Coast threats

EU sanctions mean cocoa beans can’t be exported to their markets, but Ivory Coast’s cocoa board is now threatening to seize what isn’t exported.

# sanctions - Friday 4 March, 2011

Interpol issues alert for Gaddafi and 15 family members

International security agency sends out Orange alert after UN resolutions against Gaddafi, his family and close associates.

# sanctions - Tuesday 10 August, 2010

FOLLOWING A STATEMENT from a United States Admiral regarding an alleged US contingency plan to invade Iran, Tehran has responded by digging mass graves for American soldiers.

US Admiral Mike Mullen said last week that the American military has a plan to attack Iran if necessary – however, he did stress that this was not a desirable option.

Iranian General Hossein Kan’ani Moghadam, said graves have been dug in Iran’s southwestern Khuzestan province, near where the state buried Iraqi soldiers killed during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980′s.

“The mass graves that used to be for burying Saddam’s soldiers have now been prepared again for US soldiers,” Moghadam told the Associated Press,”This is the reason for digging this big number of graves.”

The friction between Iran and western powers has been intensifying lately, following a forth round of sanctions applied to Tehran by the United Nations over the country’s nuclear programme.

The US has claimed that Iran is developing a nuclear weapon, but Tehran insists that it is enriching uranium for energy and medicinal purposes.

See footage from Iran’s semi-state news agency, Fars, of the graves:

# sanctions - Tuesday 27 July, 2010

IRAN HAS SAID that it is willing to return to negotiations with western powers about the exchange of nuclear fuel, despite the European Union imposing harsh new sanctions on the country on Monday.

Iran denies that the sanctions will hurt, but has stated that it plans to return to talks in the Autumn.

EU countries agreed to self-impose investment restrictions in Iranian oil and gas in response to Iran’s nuclear programme. Sanctions will also include a suspension on EU dealings with Iranian banks and insurance companies.

These are the latest extension on sanctions against Iran, against following similar UN, EU and US actions earlier in the year.

Despite Tehran insisting that the country is enriching uranium for peaceful purposes (medicinal and energy uses), suspicions that Iran is attempting to build a nuclear weapon have brought a slew of economic sanctions.

Last June, Turkey and Brazil agreed a fuel swap with Iran in an attempt to reduce escalating international tension surrounding Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. Under the terms of the agreement 1200 kg of Iran’s 3.5% enriched uranium would be sent to Turkey in exchange for 120 kg of 20% enriched fuel.

Nevertheless, the following day the United States, Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia all agreed to impose economic sanctions on Iran.

The nature of the sanctions are designed to hit Iran hard. Despite the country being the fifth largest crude oil exporter in the world, it has a extremely limited capacity to refine petroleum and so relies on foreign imports for about 40% of its domestic consumption.

Refined oil, such as gasoline, is essential for personal and commercial transport and business.  The country has been relying on friendlier nations like Turkey and China for gasoline imports.

Mark Fitzpatrick, an Iran specialist at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, told Reuters that the EU did not fear other countries rushing in to provide commercial imports for Iran as the areas chosen for the sanctions are ones in which Europe has “substantial leverage.”

She continued by adding: “Not so many other countries can provide the kind of financial services that will be cut off. Few other countries supply technology for liquefied natural gas, nobody else does re-insurance … The European Union has very wisely found areas over which it has real leverage and cannot be supplanted.”

However, some countries object to the new round of sanctions, including Russia. Iranian IRNA news quotes Maxim Shevchenko, president of the Center for Strategic Research on Modern Religion and Politics, as saying that “any pressure on the country to stop its program will be unjust, unacceptable and discriminatory,” and that “Iran maintains cordial relations with several powerful countries including Indonesia, Malaysia, China, Turkey, Brazil and Japan… (which  would) foil the effects of sanctions on Iran.”