Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Eu Raises Stakes with Iran Oil Embargo Pressure Increases to Reveal Nuke Program

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Eu Raises Stakes with Iran Oil Embargo Pressure Increases to Reveal Nuke Program

Article excerpt

BRUSSELS --

The European Union and Iran raised the stakes today in their test of wills over the Islamic republic's nuclear program, with the bloc banning the purchase of Iranian oil and Iran threatening to retaliate by closing the Strait of Hormuz, through which a fifth of the world's crude is transported.

The escalating confrontation is fraught with the risks of rising energy prices, global financial instability and potential military activity.

The EU's 27 foreign ministers, meeting today in Brussels, imposed an oil embargo against Iran and froze the assets of its central bank, ramping up sanctions designed to pressure Iranian officials into resuming talks on the country's nuclear program.

EU officials say the tighter sanctions are part of an approach to increase pressure while emphasizing their willingness to talk.

In Washington, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner welcomed the EU decision, calling it "another strong step in the international effort to dramatically increase the pressure on Iran. …

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