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EU sanctions on Iran are regrettable


The chair of the Iran delegation in the European Parliament criticises the new sanctions imposed by the EU on Iran and calls for the use of diplomacy.

The EU foreign ministers imposed a tough oil embargo and froze the assets of the Iranian central bank within the EU yesterday. Currently, the EU buys around 20 percent of the Iranian oil exports. The coercive measure is to bring the Iranian government to the negotiation table on its nuclear programme. The sanctions take full effect in July 2012.

Tarja Cronberg, the chair of the Iran delegation in the European Parliament, regrets the EU Council decision.
'It is of outmost importance that the EU devotes the six-month period before the sanctions take effect to intensive and proactive diplomatic measures to resume the talks with Iran. I call on high representative Ashton to use skilful and resourceful diplomacy to restart the negotiations and formulate incentives', Cronberg says.

According to the recent IAEA report, Iran's enrichment activities might have military dimension. Iran fiercely opposes the view. Cronberg believes that the sanctions will drive Iran into a corner without leaving room for manoeuvre. However, she reminds that it would be technically possible for Iran to modify its nuclear enrichment programme so that it does not give doubt about the peaceful purpose.

In October 2011, the EU high representative sent a letter to Iran's leadership asking for their position regarding possible new talks. So far Iran has not responded.
'It is vital that Iran responds to calls for negotiations. Both sides should show flexibility, not pose preconditions, and be prepared for dialogue,' Cronberg emphasises.

According to Iran chair, the sanctions should be the last resort when all the diplomatic efforts have been exhausted. She is concerned that the sanctions put another burden on the Iranian people and increase the anti-EU sentiments in the country.
'EU has a twin track approach - sanctions and diplomacy. Now it is time for proactive diplomacy. EU has a unique opportunity to implement its strategy of preventive crisis management. A compromise on uranium enrichment has to be reached before sanctions take effect,' concludes Cronberg.

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