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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Report: Three EU Nations Propose Stronger Iran Sanctions

By VOA News
26 February 2009

A British newspaper says three European countries are proposing new sanctions against Iran because of its nuclear program.

The Financial Times on Thursday reported that France, Germany and Britain have drawn up a list of possible targets for new European Union sanctions.

The newspaper links the proposal to the United States' ongoing review of its Iran policy, but says diplomats disagree on what the goal is. Some, it reports, say the countries want to encourage a more hard-line outcome from Washington's review, while others say the new list is intended only to strengthen Washington's position regarding Iran.

Both the Financial Times and the Reuters news agency quote unnamed European diplomats as saying there is no consensus within the European Union on the three countries' sanctions proposal.

The newspaper based its report on a confidential document seen by the Financial Times and by the Italian newspaper Il Riformista, listing 34 Iranian entities and 10 individuals with alleged links to what the EU believes are Iran's covert nuclear or biological weapons programs. The report says some of them are already under sanctions by the United Nations and the United States.

But the Financial Times says the list includes the commander and deputy of the paramilitary Basij force, who would face sanctions for the first time.

The European Union approved new sanctions against Iran last year, including a freeze on assets of the country's largest bank.

The United States, the EU, Russia and China have used a system of sanctions and incentives to try to encourage Iran to stop enriching uranium.

The administration of new U.S. President Barack Obama says it is willing to talk to Tehran about its nuclear program, a departure from previous U.S. policy.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said Berlin is willing to go along with Washington and pursue talks with Iran. But she also warned earlier this month that her government is ready to impose strict sanctions if talks do not work.

The United States and some European countries accuse Iran of working to produce nuclear weapons. Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful, civilian purposes.

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