European Union Boosts Sanctions on Iran

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The financial noose keeps tightening around Iran's neck.

Already suffering economically because of severe sanctions imposed by the U.S. and the West over the refusal to abandon its rogue nuclear program, Tehran will also have to deal with even stricter penalties agreed upon by the European Union Monday.

European foreign ministers said that along with the current oil embargo and freezing of Iranian assets in oversea banks, the EU would initiate further curbs on trade with Iran and on its finance, energy and transport industries.

What the EU hopes to do is close any remaining loopholes in the existing sanctions.

British Foreign Minister William Hague said, "We will continue to do all we can to increase the peaceful pressure on Iran to change course and to return to talks ready to reach a negotiated solution by addressing the world’s concerns."

Iran has repeatedly walked away from talks with six nations about freezing its uranium enrichment process, a key step to developing nuclear weapons.  Tehran insists its atomic power is for peaceful purposes, a claim doubted by the West.

Israel says Tehran is close to creating a nuclear bomb and has made its intent known about a preemptive military strike to take out Iran's facilities.  However, Israeli leadership has admitted the tough sanctions appear to be crippling Iran's economy.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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