On October 15, the European Union targeted Iran’s nuclear program with new sanctions on its financial, energy, trade, and transport sectors. The E.U. Council condemned Tehran’s “continuing production of enriched uranium” and “flagrant violation of its international obligations.” European banks are now prohibited from dealing with Iranian banks, unless they receive permission to address humanitarian needs. The measures also ban the import of Iranian natural gas. E.U. foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said “there is room for negotiations” between Iran and the P5+1 and that she hopes to “make progress [on the nuclear issue] very soon.” The following points are from the E.U. Council statement announcing new punitive measures.
1. "The Council reiterates its serious and deepening concerns over Iran's nuclear programme
and the urgent need for Iran to comply with all its international obligations, including full
implementation by Iran of UNSC and IAEA Board of Governors' Resolutions.
2. The Council condemns the continuing production of enriched uranium and expansion of
Iran's enrichment capacity, including at the Fordow site, and continued heavy-water
activities in breach of UNSC and IAEA Board of Governors' Resolutions, as reflected in the
most recent IAEA report. The Council notes with particular concern Iran's obstruction of
the IAEA work towards the clarification of all outstanding issues, including with respect to
the possible military dimension to Iran's nuclear programme. Therefore, the Council
welcomes the adoption with overwhelming majority by the IAEA Board of Governors of its
Resolution on 13 September 2012 deciding that Iran's cooperation was essential and urgent
in order to restore international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's
3. Iran is acting in flagrant violation of its international obligations and continues to refuse to
fully co-operate with the IAEA to address the concerns on its nuclear programme. In this
context, and in coherence with previous European Council and Council conclusions, the
Council has agreed additional restrictive measures in the financial, trade, energy and
transport sectors, as well as additional designations, notably of entities active in the oil and
gas industry. In particular, the Council has agreed to prohibit all transactions between
European and Iranian banks, unless authorised in advance under strict conditions with
exemptions for humanitarian needs. In addition, the Council has decided to strengthen the
restrictive measures against the Central Bank of Iran. Further export restrictions have been
imposed, notably for graphite, metals, software for industrial processes, as well as measures
relating to the ship building industry.
4. The restrictive measures agreed today are aimed at affecting Iran's nuclear programme and
revenues of the Iranian regime used to fund the programme and are not aimed at the Iranian
people. The Iranian regime itself can act responsibly and bring these sanctions to an end. As
long as it does not do so, the Council remains determined to increase, in close coordination
with international partners, pressure on Iran in the context of the dual track approach.
5. The Council reaffirms the longstanding commitment of the European Union to work for a
diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear issue in accordance with the dual track approach.
6. The Council reaffirms that the objective of the EU remains to achieve a comprehensive,
negotiated, long-term settlement, which would build international confidence in the
exclusively peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear programme, while respecting Iran's
legitimate rights to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy in conformity with the NPT, and
fully taking into account UN Security Council and IAEA Board of Governors' Resolutions.
The Council welcomes the determination for a diplomatic solution expressed by E3+3
Foreign Ministers on 27 September in New York and fully endorses the efforts led by the
High Representative on behalf of the E3+3 in this regard. E3+3 have made a credible and
substantial confidence building proposal for negotiations guided by the agreed principles of
reciprocity and a step by step approach. The Council urges Iran to engage constructively, by
focussing on reaching an agreement on concrete confidence building steps, negotiating
seriously and addressing the concerns of the international community."