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EU ups heat on Iran, reaches new sanctions deal

November 22, 2011 20:41

Some 200 companies, organizations included will face EU asset freezes, and officials will be banned from travelling to EU.

A general view of the Bushehr main nuclear reactor

A general view of the Bushehr main nuclear reactor 311 R. (photo credit:Reuters/ Raheb Homavandi)

European Union governments agreed in principle on Tuesday to extend sanctions against Iran by adding some 200 names to a target list of people and entities in an effort to add pressure on Tehran over its nuclear program, diplomats said.

The decision will be formally approved at a meeting of EU foreign ministers on Dec. 1, they said.

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"The silent procedure went through, it's done," said one EU diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity. He was referring to a procedure that allows EU governments to reach agreements on various policies.

European companies will be banned from doing business with the listed firms and organizations, while officials will be subject to asset freezes and visa bans.

EU diplomats can, in theory, tweak the target list during further discussions in the coming days, and the final list of names will be made public after the formal approval.

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In addition to extending the sanctions list, EU governments are also expected to discuss proposals by France and Britain for further sanctions, such as targeting the Iranian central bank. France also wants to target the oil industry.

If agreed, such moves could also be formally approved next week, diplomats have said.

France said on Tuesday it was pushing hard to persuade its EU counterparts to move quickly on its proposal.

On Monday, the United States, Britain and Canada announced new measures against Iran's energy and financial sectors, in response to a Nov. 8 International Atomic Energy Agency report that presented intelligence suggesting Iran had worked on designing an atomic bomb.
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