The 27-member union has hit the gas, shipping and financial sectors in Iran with new measures ultimately aimed at dismantling Iran’s perceived nuclear weapons programme.
The EU has slapped a ban on the importation of Iranian natural gas as well as associated services. There is already a ban on crude oil and gasoline in place.
There is also a ban on the export of graphite – a component in steel manufacture – to Iran to help thwart the nuclear programme which Iranian powers have always insisted is solely for civilian use.
The EU has also imposed a ban on companies in member states providing storage or transportation services for Iranian products while there is also a ban on Iranian shipbuilding.
The country’s banking system has also been hit with sanctions on financial transactions except for certain ones involving humanitarian or legitimate trade.
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said: “We have always said sanctions are not an end in themselves, but are there to apply pressure on the Iranian authorities to meet their international obligations.”
UK Prime Minister David Cameron said on Monday that the sanctions against Iran needed time to work and hit out at Iranian authorities for their continued resistance to calls to halt their weapons programme.
“We shouldn’t give them that chance. We need the courage to give these sanctions time to work,” Cameron said, adding that crude oil exports in Iran had fallen by 45% and inflation could go as high as 50%.
“Most significantly, there are signs that the Iranian people are beginning to question the regime’s strategy with even pro-regime groups protesting at the actions of the government.
“It’s mind boggling that the leaders of a nation so rich in oil have succeeded in turning their country into a banana republic desperately trying to put rockets into space while their people suffer.
“The Iranian regime is under unprecedented pressure and faces an acute dilemma. They are leading their people to global isolation and an economic collapse. And they know it.”