EU states agree in principle to sanction Iran central bank

Reuters, Wednesday 18 Jan 2012

Europe has reached a general agreement for new trade restrictions but are still deciding on time and implementation, say diplomats

Members of the Iranian army land force academy perform during a graduation ceremony in Tehran last November (Photo: Reuters)

European Union governments have agreed in principle to freeze the assets of Iran's central bank alongside a planned embargo on the OPEC producer's crude, but have yet to agree how to protect non-oil trade from sanctions, EU diplomats said on Wednesday.

EU envoys have stepped up talks in recent days to prepare a package of new sanctions against Tehran, with the aim of adopting them at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels on Monday.

They have previously agreed in principle to ban the imports of Iranian crude to the EU but are still deciding when the embargo would start and how it will be implemented.

"On the central bank, things have been moving in the right direction in the last hours. There is now a wide agreement on the principle. Discussions continue on the details," one EU diplomat said.

The main concern among some EU member states is to avoid sanctions on the central bank blocking trade in allowed goods, diplomats said.

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