Foreign Secretary William Hague and his French and German counterparts have asked the European Union (EU) to consider a new set of sanctions against Iran.
In a further attempt to find a diplomatic solution to the dispute over Iran’s nuclear programme, Hague has written a joint letter with the French and German foreign ministers, urging the EU to agree to new measures against Iran at their next foreign policy meeting on 15 October.
The letter, signed by Hague, Guido Westerwelle and Laurent Fabius reportedly argues, ‘We must let Iran know that we have not exhausted our options.’ According to Reuters UK, the three foreign ministers want to target Iranian trade, finance, energy and transportation. They may also look to freeze the assets of further Iranian banks.
In a related development, the United States yesterday officially linked Iran’s state-owned National Iranian Oil Company to Tehran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard, making it a potential target of further sanctions.
Meanwhile, Israeli daily Haaretz quotes a senior official at the Israeli Foreign Ministry, where there is apparently a growing belief that international sanctions are having a serious impact on the Iranian economy, triggering domestic resentment against the Tehran regime. The ministry reportedly believes that sanctions have led to a 50% drop in Iranian oil exports over the last year. An internal document also details how measures against the Iranian central bank have seen the local currency drop in value, leading to a rise in the cost of basic necessities. According to the official, ‘There are indications that the average citizen is actually blaming Iranian leadership for the situation and not the West, which has imposed the sanctions.’