LUXEMBOURG - European Union governments agreed further sanctions against Iran's banking, shipping and industrial sectors on Monday, cranking up financial pressure on Tehran in the hope of drawing it into serious negotiations on its nuclear program.
The decision by EU foreign ministers reflected mounting concerns over Iran's nuclear intentions and Israeli threats to attack Iranian atomic installations if a mix of sanctions and diplomacy proves fruitless in ushering in a peaceful solution.
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.
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.
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