New sanctions on Iran despite talks offer
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European Union foreign ministers on Monday adopted new sanctions targeting Iran's energy sector over the country's disputed nuclear programme. Canada, too, has imposed its own sanctions.
The sanctions were agreed at a meeting in Brussels. Most of them will take effect on Tuesday when they are published in the EU's official journal.
The EU’s sanctions 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.
There is also a ban on new investments in the energy sector as well as on dual-use goods that can be used for weapons. It will increase vigilance on the activities of Iranian-connected banks operating in the EU and bar them from setting up branches.
Meanwhile, Iran has responded to queries raised by the Vienna group over a nuclear fuel swap proposed by Brazil, Turkey and Iran.
The Vienna group, comprising Russia, France and the United States, had raised several questions regarding the deal proposed by Brazil, Turkey and Iran on 17 May that has come to be known as the Tehran Declaration.
Iran's response was handed to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Yukiya Amano in Vienna by Tehran's envoy to the UN atomic watchdog, Ali Asghar Soltanieh.
The Tehran Declaration stipulates Iran sending 1,200 kilogrammes of its low-enriched uranium (LEU) to Turkey in return at a later date for high-enriched uranium to be used as fuel for a research reactor in the capital.
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki held talks with his Brazilian and Turkish counterparts in Istanbul on Sunday. He said that Iran was ready to start immediate talks with the Vienna group over the fuel swap.
On Monday Turkey’s foreign minister said his country would abide by UN sanctions on Iran, but would not follow tougher measures imposed by the United States and the European Union.
"We will fully implement UN resolutions but when it comes to individual countries' demands for extra sanctions we do not have to," Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek told the Financial Times. "The facilitation of trade that is not prohibited under UN resolution should and will continue," he said.
He said his country would find a way to pay if a trade deal needs to be financed.
Turkey voted against a fourth round of UN sanctions against Iran when the Security Council, where it holds a non-permanent seat, approved the measures in June to increase pressure on Tehran over its nuclear programme.
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