EU sanctions target Iran oil, gas, tanker companies
BRUSSELS (REUTERS) - European Union (EU) governments imposed sanctions on Tuesday against major Iranian state companies in the oil and gas industry, and strengthened restrictions on the central bank, cranking up financial pressure over Teheran's nuclear programme.
Among the more than 30 firms and institutions listed in the EU's Official Journal as targets for asset freezes in Europe was the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), one of the world's largest crude exporters, and the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC).
Both are vital elements of the Iranian oil industry, the main source of revenue for the government which is being targeted by Western sanctions.
Their importance has risen in recent months as governments in Europe and United States (US) seek to curb Teheran's access to cash, forcing Western companies to halt trade with Iran and, in turn, driving Teheran to rely more on domestic firms.