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EU Nations Agree to New Sanctions Against Iran

The European Union has approved new sanctions against Iran, including freezing the assets of the country's largest bank.

European officials formally adopted the measures Monday without debate at EU talks in Luxembourg.

Officials say the new sanctions target Iran's Bank Melli, which will no longer be allowed to operate in Europe, as well as businesses and individuals that the EU says are linked to Iran's disputed nuclear program.

The sanctions also include a travel ban on high-level experts involved with Iran's nuclear activities.

Earlier this month, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana presented a package of economic and trade incentives to Iran to persuade the country to stop nuclear enrichment.

Iran says it is ready to negotiate the incentives package, offered by Russia, China, France, Germany, Britain and the United States, but has ruled out stopping the enrichment of uranium.

The EU move is in addition to three sets of limited United Nations Security Council sanctions against Iran for defying demands to stop enriching uranium.

Last week, a U.S. Senate panel approved legislation that would tighten sanctions against Iran in connection with its nuclear enrichment program. The proposed law requires approval by the full Senate.

The United States and its allies accuse Iran of working to develop a nuclear weapon. Iran says its atomic program is for peaceful purposes.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.