BRUSSELS - European Union leaders will call for more sanctions against Iran at a summit in Brussels on Friday, in an effort to ratchet up pressure on Tehran over its nuclear program, draft conclusions of an EU summit showed.
They are not likely to make an explicit call yet for an embargo on Iranian crude oil, which EU diplomats have began discussing this month as a way to strengthen Europe's response to mounting Western concerns that the OPEC producer has worked to design a nuclear weapon.
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The International Atomic Energy Agency ignited such worries last month when it released new evidence on Iran's nuclear work, which Tehran says is for peaceful purposes only.
An EU diplomat with knowledge of conclusions prepared for the summit of
EU heads of state in Brussels on Thursday and Friday, said governments
will reiterate plans to develop new sanctions in the coming weeks.
"The European Council invites the (council of EU ministers) to proceed
with its work related to extending the scope of EU restrictive measures
and broadening existing sanctions by examining additional measures
against Iran," the draft read, according to the diplomat.
EU leaders will call for preparations of sanctions to take place as "a
matter of priority" and for them to be adopted by the next meeting of EU
foreign ministers in January, the diplomat said.
Last week, EU foreign ministers agreed to develop new sanctions on
Iran's energy, transport and banking sectors. Diplomats said a ban on
imports of Iranian oil into Europe was under discussion.
France, backed by Germany and Britain, has led the push to ban Iranian
crude, but some states, notably Greece, have expressed reservations.