News / Middle East

EU Imposes Toughest Sanctions Against Iran

Henry Ridgwell
European Union governments Tuesday imposed their toughest sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program. EU and U.S. officials say sanctions are vital to curbing Iran's nuclear weapons ambitions. But some analysts say the sanctions have failed to do that and are causing Iranians to suffer as the value of Iran's currency plummets.

Shuttling across the narrow Strait of Hormuz are Iran's high speed smugglers.

Using boats equipped with 200 horsepower engines, they take goods - everything from luxury perfume to livestock - from Oman across to Iran, avoiding import duties on the way.



But the plunging rial currency is hitting even this illicit trade. The smugglers say Iranians can no longer afford their goods.

"It's very intense, over there, on that side, it's very intense. It's really hurting the people. The authorities are really hurting everyone and everything," said one teenage smuggler.

European Union ministers decided on Monday to expand sanctions against Iran and on Tuesday listed more than 30 Iranian firms as being targeted. Iran insists its nuclear program is for civilian purposes and denies it is trying to develop an atomic bomb.

The West says sanctions are the main way to pressure Iran and forestall military conflict.

"We have decided on a further package of sanctions, to increase pressure and make negotiations more substantial, in the areas of trade and banking, transport and energy,"  Westerwelle said. "In addition we will enforce measures to put an end to bypassing sanctions," said Guido Westerwelle, Germany's foreign minister.

Iran's economy, both legitimate and clandestine, is suffering. And on Tuesday, Iran slammed the EU sanctions as "inhuman and ineffective."  

The plunging currency has sparked protests in Tehran.

"This is hitting the Iranians hard in the pocket. Also with the restrictions on imports, there's growing food shortages. That was seen especially around Ramadan with shortages of chicken for instance which again affected the ordinary Iranians incredibly. We're going to see this sort of thing increasing more and more," said Jamie Ingram, a Middle East Analyst at IHS Global Insight.

Analysts say sanctions targeting Iran's oil industry have hit hard and the country is scrambling to find new markets.

Iran's Energy Minister Majid Namjoo visited New Delhi last week and expressed hope that Indian businesses would invest in Iran.

"This opportunity will benefit India, enabling its private sector and private companies to obtain good prices from our country," Namjoo said.

Critics say the sanctions on Iran have failed to halt its nuclear program, while causing the people to suffer. Again, analyst Jamie .

"A large part of the social bargain between the ruling mullahs, the government and the people is based on the provision of services. This is going to become increasingly embarrassing for the government and the pressure could tell eventually," Ingram said.

With few signs of a diplomatic breakthrough, analysts say the latest round of EU sanctions will tighten the economic stranglehold on Iran's economy even further.

You May Like

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Persian service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win More

Video Russian Anti-Corruption Campaigner Slams Putin’s Crackdown on Dissent

In interview with VOA Alexei Navalny says he believes new law against 'undesirable NGOs' part of move to keep Russian president in power More

Video On The Scene: In Ethiopia, 'Are You a Journalist?' Is a Loaded Question

VOA's Anita Powell describes the difficulties faced by reporters in fully conveying the story in a country where people are reticent to share their true opinions More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Ninehan from: US
October 17, 2012 9:02 AM
It's a very nice work they've ever done to pressure Iran on their nuclear weapons ambitions. Unless influential countries like Russia and China don't sign up for this effort to curb Iran's nuclear progam, it'd be sadly in vain. Ordinary Iranians will be the victims of these expanded senctions, and also these senctions may benifit China and Russia which supporting conflicts underground.

On the other hand, Should radical, insurgent, dictator country like Iran has developed atomic bombs, the peace and stability of the world is not secured anymore, and no human-rights can be raised in Arabian countries, Cause Iran secretly has been supporting terrorism and terrorists around the world.
There's no other ways then toughest senctions against Iran's world-destorying program, in order to forestall numerous conflicts and terrorist attacks from radical, extremist countries. Save the world and expand human-rights, lives will worth living.

by: rlee from: China
October 17, 2012 3:57 AM
It is anyone's free will do develop anything useful. US has nuclear weapons. China has nuclear weapons. Russia has nuclear weapons. Before you accuse anyone use, destroy your own nuclear weapons.

by: Xira from: Austin
October 17, 2012 1:24 AM
If Iran wants to be North Korea, let them.

Let's not waste our lives and treasure on more warmongering.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs