JERUSALEM (AP) — Italy’s premier says stepped up European sanctions against Iran are proving effective.

Speaking Thursday alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Mario Monti said the sanctions were “inflicting pain” on Iran. He said they were being rigorously applied and enforced.

Last week the European Union expanded its sanctions against Iran to include financial, trade, energy and transport sectors. It imposed asset freezes and trade restrictions on additional companies, notably those in the oil and gas industry.

The West suspects that Iran is developing a nuclear weapon. Israel has repeatedly hinted it might strike the Islamic Republic’s uranium enrichment facilities. The West hopes sanctions will force Iran to back down before that would be necessary.

Monti said the Israeli approach was “slightly different” but complimentary to Europe’s.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.