EU tightens sanctions on Iran over nukes
Brussels - The European Union on Monday expanded sanctions against Iran over worries about its nuclear programme.
The EU foreign ministers decided to impose asset freeze and travel bans on several additional Iranian officials and over 100 companies with links to the nuclear programme. Precise figures were not immediately available.
"It is very important that the European Union is taking this stand," said British Foreign Secretary William Hague.
"It is important not to forget while so many things are happening and changing in the Middle East, that Iran continues with its nuclear programme," Hague said during an intermission in the foreign affairs meeting.
Last month, the EU ministers also imposed similar travel and assets sanctions on 32 Iranian officials for human rights abuses.
Iran has been under scrutiny for nearly a decade after revelations that it was running a secret uranium enrichment programme.
It has already been hit with four rounds of UN Security Council sanctions over its refusal to halt the activity.
Last week, the United States and the EU demanded that Iran return to international talks over its nuclear programme and prove to the world that its atomic intentions are peaceful.
The two have been unsuccessful in persuading Iran to openly discuss its atomic programme, which the US and its allies believe is a cover for nuclear weapons development.
The last round of talks in January ended in failure.