EU to sanction 180 Iranians, entities

Dec. 1, 2011 at 9:12 AM
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BRUSSELS, Dec. 1 (UPI) -- The European Union agreed to impose sanctions on 180 Iranian officials and institutions Thursday, diplomats meeting in Brussels said.

The action was in response to an International Atomic Energy Agency report issued last month that indicated Iran performed tests related to the "development of a nuclear device," the BBC reported.

The 27-member bloc already has frozen assets of hundreds of Iranian companies and approved measures to prevent new investment and technological assistance to Iran's gas industry.

The European Union didn't release details about the 180 officials and entities that would be targeted by the latest sanctions. The BBC said foreign ministers failed to reach agreement on an embargo on Iranian oil because Greece objected.

Ministers met in Brussels to consider responses to an attack on the British Embassy and the IAEA report. Britain was seeking fresh sanctions after its embassy compound and diplomatic buildings were attacked and vandalized Tuesday by hundreds of students, officials said. The government evacuated and closed its embassy in Tehran and expelled Iran's diplomatic corps in London.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said he wanted "an intensification of the economic pressure," mainly through isolating Iran's financial sector. He said Britain would use "the lowest level consistent" with having a diplomatic relationship to maintain contacts with Tehran on its nuclear program.

France, Germany and the Netherlands have recalled their ambassadors from Tehran for consultations and Norway said it temporarily closed its embassy in Tehran as a precaution. Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi said the Iranian ambassador in Rome was being summoned to Rome to provide security guarantees for Italy's mission in Tehran.

Iran's semi-official Fars News Agency reported 11 students held for storming Britain's diplomatic buildings were released late Wednesday.

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