The European Union (EU) approved new sanctions against Iran on Monday over the country's nuclear program, which Tehran has repeatedly said is for civilian purposes only.
The 27-member bloc decided in Luxembourg at a meeting to freeze the assets of Iran's Bank Melli, the country's largest, and a travel ban on high-level experts dealing with Iran's nuclear program.
Under the new sanctions, the operations of the bank at its European offices in London, Hamburg and Paris will be stopped, while another 20 individuals and 15 organizations were added to the EU's visa-ban and assets-freeze lists.
Reports here said the list of those affected by the visa ban will be published by the EU on Tuesday.
EU officials said those on the list were officials and experts believed by the West to have links with Iran's nuclear and ballistics programs.
The new sanctions were imposed after Iran refused to stop uranium enrichment activities.
In mid-June, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana visited Tehran and handed over a revised package of incentives agreed by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States – plus Germany, but Iran said it would not accept any proposals asking it to halt uranium-enrichment activities.
The West suspect that Iran is aiming to develop a nuclear bomb, while the Islamic republic insists that its nuclear program is for civilian use.
Solana said Friday that he had not yet received any reply from Iran regarding the incentives.
(Xinhua News Agency June 24, 2008)