– Iran says new EU sanctions ‘inhumane’ (Telegraph/AFP, Oct 16, 2012):
Iran said on Tuesday the latest round of EU economic sanctions imposed over the country’s disputed nuclear programme are “inhumane” as they target its general population.
“Unilateral European and US sanctions against Iran are irrational, illegal and inhumane, and are against the Iranian nation,” foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said.
Speaking on state television, Mehmanparast accused the West of using the nuclear issue as a pretext to apply pressure on Tehran for “insisting on its own independence”.
“These sanctions are adopted under the pretext of Iran’s peaceful nuclear activities … but even if our nuclear issue is resolved, these countries will certainly use other excuses to put pressure on us.”
The European Union on Monday toughened sanctions against Iran, targeting its dealings with Iran’s banks, shipping and gas imports and banning trade in metals.
“This is a sign of our resolve,” said Foreign Secretary William Hague. “That we will step up the pressure, we will intensify the pressure and we will continue to do so over the coming months unless negotiations succeed.”
The measures add to a series of sanctions from Europe, the US and the UN Security Council designed to pressure Iran to curb its nuclear programme.
Western powers suspect Iran is using to the programme to develop atomic weapons capability. Iran denies that and says its nuclear activities are purely peaceful.
The five permanent members of the Security Council, plus Germany, also this year engaged in three rounds of face-to-face negotiations with Iran on the issue, but they ended in an impasse, with contact downgraded to telephone calls between Iranian and EU officials.