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Iran Says Proposed EU Sanctions Will Be Ineffective

June 15 (Bloomberg) -- Proposed European Union sanctions over Iran’s nuclear program would be ineffective and may hurt the countries that impose them, Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast.

The sanctions “will not be effective at all,” Mehmanparast said at a news conference today in Tehran aired on television. “Resorting to restrictive measures and pressure will receive its due response and will backfire.”

EU governments pledged yesterday to back the U.S. in imposing curbs on Iran that go beyond the penalties laid down by the United Nations Security Council last week. European sanctions will target Iran’s oil and gas sector, clamping down on investment and the transfer of advanced technologies, foreign ministers from the bloc agreed.

“We now need to adopt accompanying and supporting measures to the resolution,” EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton told reporters in Luxembourg yesterday. EU leaders are to discuss details of the sanctions in Brussels on June 17.

Last week’s UN resolution called for curbs on financial transactions with Iran, a tighter arms embargo and authority to seize cargo potentially usable in nuclear weapons or missiles. Three previous sets of UN sanctions have failed to stop Iran’s uranium-enrichment program.

Passed by the Security Council on June 9 in a 12-2 vote with one abstention, the resolution also freezes the assets of 40 companies, banks and government agencies, and bars foreign travel by Javad Rahiqi, head of a branch of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran.

Civilian Projects

Iran says it is entitled, as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, to pursue civilian nuclear power projects. The U.S. and its allies accuse the country of working to develop the capacity to make atomic bombs.

“We are only seeking to execute our rights and will not allow anyone to stop us from this,” Mehmanparast said. “Any action limiting this and applying political pressure will make us more resolute on this path.”

Ashton said she has contacted Saeed Jalili, Iran’s nuclear negotiator, to arrange a meeting on behalf of the UN powers. She said that an offer of economic incentives to Iran “remains on the table. Sanctions are not the endgame.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Ladane Nasseri in Tehran at lnasseri@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Hirschberg at phirschberg@bloomberg.net.

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