Wed, Jun 25, 2008 - Page 6 News List

Iran lashes out at EU sanctions

FRESH MEASURESThe EU released an updated sanctions list yesterday with 15 new names and 20 new firms it says all have links to the growth of Iran’s nuclear program

AP , TEHRAN

Iran said yesterday that additional sanctions by the EU will not affect Tehran, while Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad proposed the formation of a special court to punish the world “tyrants” for their attempt to thwart Iran’s nuclear program.

Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying to a group of judges that “a court should be formed to try and punish all world criminals who invade the rights of the Iranian nation,” state IRNA news agency reported.

Iran considers its nuclear ambitions — which the West claims mask weapons making — as an inalienable right. Tehran has dismissed Western claims and contends its uranium enrichment is only meant for electricity production.

Known for his anti-Western rhetoric, Ahmadinejad also denounced the West for “issuing a verdict” in the absence of Iran.

Ahmadinejad’s remarks were his first following a move by the EU which on Monday approved additional financial and travel restrictions for Iranian companies and individuals — including the country’s largest bank, Bank Melli Iran.

The Iranian leader did not elaborate on where or how the world powers should be punished for sanctioning Tehran.

Also Tuesday, Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini said in a statement that the “carrot and stick policy” by the 27-nation EU bloc won’t stop Iran’s “pursuit to realize its nuclear rights.”

Hosseini said the new sanctions would only damage European interests in Iran.

Referring to the new sanctions as a “narrow-mindedness decision” by the EU, the statement quoted Hosseini as saying that “it will not help create a suitable atmosphere for a diplomatic solution” to the nuclear dispute.

Meanwhile in Brussels, the EU released yesterday a list of those sanctioned, updating the restrictions first adopted last year and including 15 new names and 20 new companies the EU says all have links to developing Iran’s nuclear program.

Most notable among the newly sanctioned companies, the Bank Melli, is accused of providing or attempting to give financial backing to companies involved in procuring goods for Iran’s nuclear and missile programs, the EU said.

Earlier in June, the EU unsuccessfully proposed a package of economic incentives in return for an end to Iran’s uranium enrichment program.

Tehran officials have scorned the proposal, although Iran has also said that both sides could start talks on it since the proposal has “common” points with the Iranian one, presented by Tehran last month but which the West said fell far short of meeting international demands.

The US and many of its allies demand suspension of Iran’s nuclear activities since they suspect Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapon program.

The UN Security Council has also demanded Iran suspend uranium enrichment as a prelude to talks on its nuclear program.

But Tehran insists it has a right to enrich uranium for nuclear energy under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and has shrugged off three rounds of sanctions imposed by the UN.

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