Times of Oman
U.S. would welcome new EU sanctions on Iran - official
November 14, 2017 | 7:41 PM
Any move by the European Union to impose new sanctions on Iran over its ballistic missile programme and alleged involvement in Middle East conflicts would be "interesting and helpful", a U.S. administration official said on Tuesday. Photo - Files
 
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Brussels: Any move by the European Union to impose new sanctions on Iran over its ballistic missile programme and alleged involvement in Middle East conflicts would be "interesting and helpful", a U.S. administration official said on Tuesday.

U.S. President Donald Trump, who has taken a more hawkish line on Iran than predecessor Barack Obama, has said Tehran's missile programme should be curbed.

Trump has also dealt a blow to an international 2015 deal on Iran's nuclear programme by disavowing Iran's compliance with its terms. The U.S. Congress now has until mid-December to decide whether to reimpose economic sanctions on Iran that had been lifted in exchange for it limiting its nuclear activity.

But the EU, which normally coordinates closely with Washington on international sanctions, has been lobbying hard to preserve the nuclear accord, saying it should be kept separate from missile and regional security matters.



Last week, French President Emmanuel Macron mooted the possibility of fresh sanctions, saying he was "very concerned" about Iran's missile programme. "It would certainly be a very interesting and probably helpful move on the part of the EU," the U.S. administration official told reporters in Brussels when asked if Washington wanted the EU to pursue fresh restrictions on Iran.

And there is no consensus in the EU, where imposing any sanctions requires the unanimity of all 28 member states, on any new punitive measures, a fact made clear by the bloc's top diplomat after chairing foreign minister talks on Monday.

"We didn't discuss, not today, not last week (and) I don't foresee any discussion also in the future, further sanctions from the EU side on Iran," EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini told reporters when asked about Macron's comments.

The U.S. administration official declined to say what the Congress might do in the wake of Trump's action but said any new U.S. sanctions would be targeted narrowly at people and entities involved directly in the areas of concern.

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