EU tightens noose on Iran with new sanctions

Updated 21 December 2012
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EU tightens noose on Iran with new sanctions

BRUSSELS: The EU yesterday agreed new sanctions against Iran, adding 18 companies or institutions and one person to a blacklist aimed at forcing stalled talks on Tehran’s contested nuclear drive to resume.
A statement said a person and 18 entities “involved in nuclear activities or providing support to the Iranian government” had been added to an already long list of those targeted by a European Union asset freeze and travel ban.
This brought the total of entities subject to sanctions to 490 and the total number of people to 105.
The identities of those concerned will be released Saturday in the EU’s Official Journal.
The statement also said the 27-nation bloc had approved implementing legislation for a slew of tough new financial and trade sanctions against Iran agreed by foreign ministers on October 15.
These notably targeted dealings with Iran’s banks, shipping, and gas imports.
The October package banned all transactions between European and Iranian banks unless authorized in advance by national authorities.
Imports of Iranian gas were also prohibited, a symbolic gesture since the amounts involved are small, but the move sits alongside a much more significant July ban on imports of Iranian oil.
Sales of graphite, metals, key naval equipment and technology for ship-building were also banned along with key equipment or technology for the Iranian oil, natural gas and petrochemical sector.
It banned too the use of EU vessels for transporting or storing Iranian oil.


Thousands march in London for second Brexit vote

Updated 11 min 20 sec ago
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Thousands march in London for second Brexit vote

LONDON: Thousands of demonstrators gathered in London on Saturday to call for a second vote on Britain’s departure from the European Union.
The anti-Brexit campaigners are to march on parliament to mark the second anniversary of the Brexit vote, demanding a “people’s vote” on whether to approve the final deal Prime Minister Theresa May strikes with the EU, if an agreement is struck at all.
“I was in deep tears when the referendum happened, it looked like the future was pretty bad,” said Chiara Liduori, a 40-year-old Italian living in London.
“Brexit is awful not only because we want to keep things like it is, but because it is important to be within, in order to make changes.”
Emily Hill, 55, told AFP she was “very much in favor of letting the people either confirm they do really want Brexit or say no.”
“I think lot of the voting was a protest vote, some people genuinely are not supportive of the EU, but I don’t believe it is the majority opinion in this country,” she added, European flag in hand.
Britain’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who campaigned to leave the European Union, warned May against a Brexit that was “soft, yielding and seemingly infinitely long” like toilet roll.
Writing in The Sun, Johnson urged against a “bog-roll Brexit,” British slang for toilet paper, and called on his boss to “fulfil the mandate of the people and deliver a full British Brexit.”
May’s team is about to enter into the next round of negotiations with EU counterparts, but is still to define exactly what it wants from Britain’s future relationship with the continent, particularly in the area of customs regulation.
Trade minister Liam Fox, an arch euroskeptic, insisted that the prime minister was still prepared to walk away from the talks if no satisfactory deal was reached.
“The prime minister has always said no deal is better than a bad deal,” Fox told the BBC in an interview aired on Saturday.
“It is essential as we enter the next phase of the negotiations that the EU understands that and believes it... I think our negotiating partners would not be wise if they thought our PM was bluffing.”