The Straits Times
Published on Oct 16, 2012

EU tightens Iran sanctions over nuclear concerns


LUXEMBOURG (REUTERS) - European Union (EU) governments agreed further sanctions against Iran's banking, shipping and industrial sectors on Monday, cranking up financial pressure on Teheran in the hope of drawing it into serious negotiations on its nuclear programme.

The decision by EU foreign ministers reflected mounting concerns over Iran's nuclear intentions and Israeli threats to attack Iranian atomic installations if a mix of sanctions and diplomacy fails to lead to a peaceful solution.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said she hoped that turning up the heat on the Islamic Republic would persuade it to make concessions and that negotiations could resume "very soon".

"I absolutely do think there is room for negotiations," said Ms Ashton, who represents the United States (US), China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany in their on-and-off talks with Iran. "I hope we will be able to make progress very soon."