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.

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Comment Sorting
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.

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