EU to Embargo Iranian Crude as Tension Mounts

USN Carrier Lincoln enters the Straits of Hormus … Joins the USN Carrier USS Carl Vinson that is still there.

Has sanctions ever worked before?

European Union governments agreed on Monday to an immediate ban on all new contracts to import, buy or transport Iranian crude oil, a move to put pressure on Tehran’s disputed nuclear programme by shutting off its main source of foreign income.

However, to protect Europe’s economy as it battles to overcome a debt crisis, the governments agreed to phase in the embargo, giving countries with existing contracts with Iran until July 1, 2012 to end those deals.

At a meeting of foreign ministers in Brussels, EU governments also agreed to freeze the assets of Iran’s central bank and to ban all trade in diamonds, gold and other precious metals with the bank and other public bodies.

Western powers hope the far stricter sanctions net, which brings the EU more closely into line with U.S. policy, will force Iran to scale back or halt its nuclear work, which Europe and the United States believe is aimed at developing weapons. Iran says it is enriching uranium solely for peaceful purposes.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said she wanted financial sanctions to persuade Tehran to return to negotiations with the West, which she represents in talks with Iran. “I want the pressure of these sanctions to result in negotiations,” she told reporters before the ministers met.

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