WASHINGTON, June 23 (UPI) -- The United States welcomes the European Union's imposition Monday of further sanctions against Iran, a State Department spokesman said.
The 27-member EU voted in Brussels to freeze all assets of Bank Melli, Iran's largest bank, and invoked travel restrictions on high-level experts connected to Iran's nuclear program, the BBC and other media reported. The action is meant to penalize Iran for refusing to give up its nuclear aspirations, which Tehran maintains are of a non-military nature.
"In terms of the sanctions that the EU has now imposed, certainly, we welcome them," Tom Casey, the State Department's deputy spokesman, said at a news briefing. "We think it's important that the international community continue to step up pressure on the Iranian regime, as long as it refuses to comply with Security Council resolutions and suspend its uranium enrichment."
Casey said the Bush administration wishes Iran would accept the incentive package being offered for the Middle East nation to forgo its uranium enrichment program.
"But unfortunately, given an absence of a positive response from the Iranians, they're going to find themselves under increased pressure and steps that will be taken include not only what we've done in the Security Council, but also measures taken by individual states or organizations like the EU," he said.