EU to impose tougher sanctions on Iran
Guardian / Leigh Phillips

Sanctions will hit transport, banking and insurance sectors
West piling pressure on Iran to return to nuclear talks

The EU will next week announce a package of sanctions against Iran that go well beyond last month's UN measures. They will affect UK and other European companies in the transport, banking and insurance sectors, diplomats say.

"This is the most substantive and far-reaching set of sanctions the EU has agreed to on Iran or indeed on any country," said one EU diplomat, who did not wish to be named.

The sanctions are part of the EU's strategy to ratchet up pressure on Iran to return to negotiations on its nuclear programme. The west is convinced Iran's nuclear activities amount to an illegal weapons programme; Tehran denies this.

"We had expected it to be quite tough to get the package agreed due to some member states wanting to protect economic interests, but we were pleasantly surprised that after it was agreed that now was the right moment, it all flowed rather easily from that," the diplomat said.

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