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Iran condemns new EU sanctions on energy sector

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Reuters

Iran has condemned a new set of tough European Union sanctions aimed at pressuring Tehran to resume talks on its controversial nuclear programme. A foreign ministry spokesman said the move would not help in advancing talks.

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"These sanctions will not help in resuming talks and will not affect Iran's determination to defend its legitimate right to pursue a peaceful nuclear programme," said Ramin Mehmanparast.

The EU's new sanctions on Iran's oil and gas industry are aimed at reviving stalled talks between Tehran and six world powers – Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the US.

EU diplomats said the punitive measures would include a ban on the sale of equipment, technology and services to Iran's energy sector, hitting activities in refining, liquefied natural gas, exploration and production.

The Iranian banking sector was also hit by restrictions, forcing any transactions over 40,000 euros to be authorised by EU governments before they can go ahead. New investments in the energy sector are also banned.

The last high-level meeting between Iran and the six world powers was held in Geneva in October 2009 when the two sides agreed a nuclear fuel swap that has since stalled.

Western powers have demanded that Iran suspend its uranium enrichment programme, fearing that Tehran would use the material to build a nuclear bomb. Tehran says its atomic programme is a peaceful drive to produce energy.

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