A “growing consensus” to increasing sanctions against Iran is mounting among European Union countries in the wake of stalled diplomatic efforts to halt Iran’s nuclear program, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said Friday.
The German foreign minister’s comments followed similar statements against Iran by French and British officials at an informal EU summit in Cyprus.
The announcements came amid calls by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for increased international pressure to force Tehran to desist in its unsanctioned uranium enrichment.
“We might have to decide soon on a new round of sanctions in the European Union,” Westerwelle said. “I see a growing consensus between my colleagues.”
“We are in a serious situation,” AFP quoted him saying. “We will not accept a nuclear weapon for Iran.”
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius remarked that diplomatic attempts to bring Iran’s nuclear program to a halt were deadlocked.
“We will discuss in the next days the details of strengthening sanctions,” he said.
Fabius said he will work with Westerwelle and Italian counterpart Giulio Terzi in the next few days on a proposal for new sanctions.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague said he would appeal to his European counterparts to increase pressure on Iran by toughening sanctions.
“It is necessary to increase the pressure on Iran, to intensify sanctions,” he said.
The latest EU sanctions against Iran, an oil embargo, took effect on July 1. In addition to US financial sanctions aimed at shutting off Iran’s oil exports, which account for half of government revenues, Iran’s oil industry incomes have been slashed by an estimated 66 percent, according to CNBC.