European Union members have approved new sanctions against Iran in
response to Tehran's refusal to freeze its nuclear program. Lisa
Bryant has more from Paris.
New EU sanctions on Iran include an
asset freeze on the country's biggest bank, Bank Melli. They also
include visa bans that will reportedly target senior members affiliated
with Iran's nuclear program.
Iran says its nuclear activities
are for peaceful purposes of generating power, but western nations fear
Tehran is trying to build a nuclear weapon.
The United States
and the 27-member European Union agreed earlier this month they were
ready to take new steps, adding to existing sanctions.
Reuters news agency reports the European Union is still offering
economic incentives to Iran in return for an end to its
EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana
presented the incentives during unsuccessful talks with Iranian
officials earlier this month in Tehran.
Last week, Solana told reporters the incentives are an updated version of a package offered in 2006, which Iran rejected.
hope to have a response from Tehran soon on the issues we have spoken
[about], which have been very important," Solana said. "Our presence here
signifies that we care about good relations with Iran, but for that,
the question of nuclear [activities] has to be clearly resolved."
has said it is encouraged by the latest EU incentives offer, but has
dismissed any call for it to suspend its nuclear program.
United States also favors a diplomatic approach to ending the standoff
with Tehran. Meanwhile, Iran's acting economy minister said during the
weekend that the existing sanctions were not having a major impact on
his country's economy.