France: New EU Iran Sanctions to Target Finance, Trade

Francois Hollande tells UN General Assembly the EU is ready to impose a new set of sanctions.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Tuesday the next round of European Union sanctions over Iran's nuclear program would focus on the financial industry and trade.

French President Francois Hollande earlier in the day told the UN General Assembly that the EU was ready to impose a new set of sanctions to increase pressure on Iran and force it back to the negotiating table.

"(The sanctions will be) on the financial and trade side," Fabius said on the sidelines of the meeting.

Western sanctions on Iran tightened markedly this year with an EU ban on crude oil purchases from Iran and U.S. sanctions targeting banks that deal with Iran's central bank. Those sanctions have not yielded tangible progress toward a diplomatic solution.

Asked about the possibility of stronger sanctions against Iran's central bank, Fabius said: "It could be that. (Those sanctions) are not fully exhausted."

The U.S. government on Monday officially linked Iran's state oil company to the country's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a determination that enables Washington to apply new sanctions on foreign banks dealing with the company.

UN diplomats say the possibility of further UN Security Council sanctions is slim at the moment since Russia and China are opposed to the idea. Senior foreign ministry officials from the five permanent council members and Germany will meet on Thursday in New York to discuss the situation in Iran.

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