BRUSSELS - The European Union has begun discussing the possibility of a broad trade embargo against Iran, moving beyond the web of energy, business and financial restrictions imposed so far, in an effort to pressure Tehran not to build nuclear weapons.

Talks are advancing with extreme caution because of European governments' traditional reluctance to impose measures that increase pain on a country's citizens rather than on their government.

"General sanctions on trade are still taboo," said one EU diplomat.

But there is frustration over the failure of diplomacy this year to force Iran to scale back its nuclear program.

"There is a debate about a trade embargo," said one EU diplomat in Brussels. "Many countries are not eager to impose a general embargo. But the debate exists."

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