EU to back harsher sanctions; Iran angry

Aug. 17, 2009 at 2:02 PM   |   0 comments

BRUSSELS, Aug. 17 (UPI) -- The European Union is increasingly ready to back harsher sanctions against Iran.

Brussels and the German government in Berlin are positive about backing "massive boycotts" against Iran if Tehran doesn't show signs of cooperation in the nuclear conflict, German news magazine Der Spiegel reports.

Diplomats are mulling several measures, including a stop of fuel deliveries to Iran and further limitations for maritime and air transport from the Islamic Republic to the EU. If China and Russia don't agree to sanctions in the U.N. Security Council, the EU would be willing to take bilateral measures together with the United States, the magazine writes, citing senior German diplomats.

The report comes as Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad once again attacked the West for its protest related to the post-election violence in the Islamic Republic.

"You have clearly interfered in Iran's internal affairs and were naive enough to think that you can damage the system but with God's help you failed," Ahmadinejad said Sunday according to Deutsche Welle, in comments directed at Western powers. "You will be held accountable for this ballyhoo you made in the world."

The EU and the United States have in the past weeks harshly protested against the crackdown on opposition demonstrators following Ahmadinejad's controversial June 12 re-election. European nations have not acknowledged the election results (Russia has) and are on a diplomatic confrontation course with Ahmadinejad, who is deeply unpopular in Europe. Over the past weeks, the 27 EU member states summoned their ambassadors more than once; the most recent protests came when Iran staged what many say is a show trial against 100 detained demonstrators. Germany has called for their release.

Tehran has in turn accused the West of fueling the riots; Ahmadinejad has even accused Britain of sending in spies. The clashes between authorities and protesters have left 26 people dead -- Iran's biggest internal conflict since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

In a more positive development, authorities in Iran released from jail a French woman who was held for six weeks on charges linked to the post-election violence.

Clotilde Reiss was released on bail but remains accused of fueling the protest and espionage; she is now at the French Embassy in Tehran and has to stay there until a verdict is reached. The European Union and Syria mediated the release.

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