Britain-Holland propose ‘full’ financial freeze, shipping ban on Iran

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Members of the European Union are discussing a sanctions proposal presented by Britain against Iran that calls for a ban on shipping and a “full” freeze on financial transactions with the Islamic Republic’s central bank, European diplomats said Tuesday.

“Most (EU) member states are largely supportive of the proposals,” a European diplomat said on condition of anonymity while another source who also asked not to be identified said that discussions are ongoing, there is still a long way to go.

Britain, France and Germany jointly urged their European Union partners last week to step up pressure on Iran over its disputed nuclear programme, agreeing new sanctions should be adopted at EU foreign ministers’ talks in Luxembourg on 15 October.

Now under discussion is a London/The Hague proposal to strengthen existing punitive measures in four areas: finance, trade, energy and transport.

The hardest-hitting British suggestions, according to an EU diplomat, are a “full freeze on Iran’s central bank, on all its financial transactions as well as a wide sectorial ban on shipping.”

Some EU nations, however, including Spain and Sweden, were concerned that the freeze would be tantamount to a ban on trade.

Some diplomats deny it is a complete ban on trade with Iran.

Current EU sanctions against Iran’s central bank were drafted to ensure that an assets freeze did not affect trade between the 27-nation bloc and Iran.

Shipping nations Denmark and Greece for their part were worried by the proposed ban on shipping.

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