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Europe tightens the world's pincers on Iran with new sanctions

Iran sanctions agreed to by Europe significantly increase pressure on Iran to return to the nuclear negotiating table. But while talks are good, quick results are what matter.

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After years of American complaints of European softness on sanctions against Iran, the European Union has discovered its spine.

Monday’s stiff restrictions related to Iranian banking, insurance, and – most critically – oil and gas add up to the EU’s most far-reaching sanctions against any country. They have received high praise from Washington. Canada also announced a new round of sanctions this week.

It’s important to remember, however, that sanctions against Iran are not an end in themselves. The whole point is to convince Iran to return to the nuclear negotiating table, and to produce results.

Not more foot-dragging. Not more deception. But a way for the international community to ensure that Iran is on a path to the peaceful use of nuclear technology (as it claims) and not to acquiring nuclear weaponry (as the West claims from intelligence sources).

The EU’s actions add considerable force to the world’s pincers on Iran, which relies on the EU as its No. 1 trade partner. They come after the United Nations Security Council approved a fourth round of sanctions in June, followed by additional unilateral sanctions passed by Congress later that month.

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