Britain's Brown expected to push Europeans over sanctions on Iran

Britain will push other EU nations at a summit on Thursday to explore tougher sanctions against Iran as the Islamic republic continues to ignore demands to halt uranium enrichment activities that could develop material for nuclear weapons. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown assured visiting US President George W. Bush on Monday that the European Union was hours away from announcing new sanctions against Iran's largest bank. However, that didn't happen, and EU diplomats said the leaders were unlikely to adopt the new measures at a summit Thursday and Friday because at least several more days of technical work were needed to ensure a proposal to freeze assets of Iran's Bank Melli complies with UN and European rules. Brown also told Bush that the bloc would start the process of new sanctions targeting Iran's oil and gas exports, but EU officials said those talks were still at a very early stage and that the bloc was months away from making any decisions.