This Monday, governments that are members of the European Union voted to tighten the current sanction they have against Iran’s banking, shipping, and industrial sectors. The EU governments say the goal of the tighter sanctions is to convince the Islamic Republic to seriously enter into talks about its nuclear program, according to the Jerusalem Post.
The EU and the United States are tightening sanctions in order to help allay Israeli fears that Iran is approaching nuclear capability. Israel has threatened to launch a military strike against Iran in order to destroy their Uranium enrichment program.
The EU released a statement expressing serious and deepening concerns over Iran’s nuclear program and stressed that “the restrictive measures agreed [to] are aimed at affecting Iran’s nuclear program and revenues of the Iranian regime to fund its program and are not aimed at the Iranian people.”
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said she hoped that the sanctions would show Iran that the Western world was serious about the punishments to come if Iran does not realize the necessity of returning to talks and begins to disband its uranium enrichment program. Ashton represents the United States, China, Russia, Britain, France, and Germany in their talks with Iran.
“I absolutely do think there is room for negotiations. I hope we will be able to make progress very soon.”
The new sanctions target entire industries in Iran while previous sanctions only targeted individuals and countries.
Mark Dubowitz, the executive director of the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies and one of the world’s leading experts on the Iranian Sanctions, said:
“These EU sanctions fill loopholes in the current sanctions regime but they are a long way from the sweeping action required to deal with the only fundamental question that matters: Will Iran reach an economic cripple date — when its foreign reserves prove insufficient to head off economic collapse — before or after it becomes a threshold nuclear power? Based on our analysis of Iran’s balance of payments, Iranian foreign reserves could last at least two years under current conditions. If so, Iranian nuclear physics will beat western economic pressure. Europe needs to go to the next stage and ban all non humanitarian trade with Iran and blacklist Iran’s central bank for its support of proliferation and terrorism. Only if the economic pressure is massively intensified will we know if economic collapse is enough to break Iran’s supreme leader’s nuclear will.”