EU planning sanctions against Iran telecoms sector
The governments of EU could ban the sales of some telecommunications equipment to Iran in the coming months under plans for new sanctions discussed by EU experts in Brussels, Reuters reported.
EU diplomats said on Friday the bloc's 27 governments have reached an agreement in principle to target equipment that could be used by the Iranian authorities for monitoring of anti-government dissent.
The new round of sanctions could also raise the number of officials affected by asset freezes and visa bans under the EU's program to target human rights abuses in the country.
Diplomats stressed that the measures were separate from EU efforts to ratchet up pressure against Tehran over its disputed nuclear program with sanctions against its oil industry and financial sector.
Discussions on the measures at an expert level will continue in the coming weeks, as there was no target date yet for reaching a final agreement or for implementation.
One diplomat said the EU could try to introduce the new package in April, when an initial round of sanctions related to human rights abuses comes up for renewal. Others say there were still disagreements among some EU members states over which officials could be included.
The EU imposed a gradual embargo on imports of Iranian oil in January and sanctioned the country's central bank as part of western efforts to force Tehran to hold back its nuclear work.
Western powers fear Iran is working to produce an atom bomb but Tehran says it aims to increase electricity output to meet rising demand.
Edited by: S. Isayev