24 February 2010
According to a report by the German news service ‘Spiegel Online’, European Union officials have drawn up an extensive list of new sanctions against Iran which if implemented would affect the entire economy of the Islamic republic and target the financial and oil sectors in particular. Behind the scenes, the report says, EU finance and trade officials have prepared a classified list of possible sanctions. The 13-page document, described as a "non-paper on political and economic context of sanctions against Iran," envisions sanctions that go beyond the existing trade embargo on military and nuclear products, as well as travel bans for Iranian leaders involved in the nuclear program, according to ‘Spiegel Online’.
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu again urged the international community to impose sanctions on Iran, even without UN approval, and said that that restricting the export by Iran of gas and the import of refined petroleum was the most important step in this regard.
An Iranian official on Wednesday said his country could cope with any sanctions on its gasoline imports. Farid Ameri, the head of the National Iranian Oil Products Distribution Company, said Iran had stockpiled enough gasoline and its refineries could produce sufficient motor fuel for domestic use in case of any sanctions.
The United States is meanwhile stepping up pressure on Turkey to back tough new sanctions against Iran, the British newspaper ‘Financial Times’ reports. "Turkey has as much reason to be concerned about the prospect of a nuclear Iran as anybody," James Steinberg, US deputy secretary of state, is quoted by the paper as saying. Commenting on statements from Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who had recently called Iran a friend”, Steinberg added: "We don't need them to label Iran. We need them to work with us to make sure that Iran doesn't become nuclear weapons capable." The two allies needed to "find a common tactical approach" to try to achieve that objective.
On Wednesday, the Japanese financial newspaper ‘Nikkei’ reported that Tokyo had offered to enrich uranium for Iran to allow it access to nuclear power while allaying fears it might be seeking to build an atomic weapon. Tehran had not yet given a concrete response, but the issue was expected to be discussed om Wednesday in Tokyo at a meeting between the speaker of Iran’s parliament, Ali Larijani and Japan’s Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada, the newspaper said on its website. Iran has so far failed to take up an offer by the International Atomic Energy Agency under which Russia would enrich its uranium and France process it. Tehran earlier this month began enriching uranium itself to a higher grade.
Speaking in Cancún, Mexico, Brazilian President Luiz Iñacio Lula Da Silva said international community should avoid isolating Iran over its nuclear program. "Peace in the world does not mean isolating someone," he said, adding: "I am going to Iran in May to buy things from them. Brazili exports goods worth one billion dollars a year to Iran and imports nothing from them." Lula in the past repeatedly voiced support for Iran's professed wish to have a nuclear energy program for civilian use.
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