'Europe must agree Iran sanctions by month's end'

French foreign minister says France wants tougher sanctions on Tehran; "we want the Europeans to take a step similar to US."

By REUTERS
January 3, 2012 09:59
1 minute read.
French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman)

PARIS - France wants its European partners to agree by end-January on sanctions on Iran similar to those envisaged by the United, States, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said on Tuesday.

"France ... wants sanctions toughened and the French President Nicolas Sarkozy has made two concrete proposals on that front - the first being the freezing of Iranian central bank assets, a tough measure, and the second an embargo on Iranian oil exports," Juppe told i>tele, a French news TV channel.

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Washington is already in the process of imposing such sanctions, he said. "We want the Europeans to take a similar step by January 30 to show our determination," he said.

Also on Tuesday, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Vadim Koval told the Interfax news source that Russia doesn't believe Iran has long-range missiles. According to Koval, Iran does not possess the necessary technology to create these weapons in the near future and has so far only tested short and medium range missiles.

Iran said on Monday that it had test fired two long-range missiles, flexing its military muscle in the face of mounting Western pressure over its nuclear program.

It made the announcement at the climax of 10 days of naval exercises in the Gulf, during which Tehran warned it could shut the Strait of Hormuz, through which 40 percent of the world's traded oil is shipped, if sanctions were imposed on its crude exports.

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