EU sanctions pressure frustrates Iran

Dec. 2, 2013 at 11:00 AM

TEHRAN, Dec. 2 (UPI) -- Iranian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham said she was surprised by a decision by the European Union to keep sanctions pressure in place.

Afkham expressed frustration over a decision by the European Union to reinstate sanctions on more than a dozen Iranian companies. She noted the European Court of Justice voted against those sanctions in September.

"Taking into account the Geneva [Switzerland] agreement and the joint efforts being made to take the initial steps towards implementing it, this action [by the EU] raises question and causes surprise," she was quoted as saying Sunday by Iran's semiofficial Fars News Agency.

Iran and its Western counterparts brokered a nuclear agreement last month in Geneva. The agreement requires Iran to roll back certain aspects of its nuclear program in exchange for relief from economic sanctions pressure.

Most of the sanctions imposed on Iran remain in place. The BBC reported last week European leaders were considering reversing some sanctions on Iran in a confidence-building gesture.

Michael Mann, a spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, told the BBC the relief may develop as early as this month.

Iran's adversaries suspect it's pursuing the technology needed to manufacture a nuclear weapon, an allegation it denies.

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