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Germany

Berlin to Impose National Sanctions on Iran, Report Says

In efforts to tighten sanctions against Iran, the German government is trying to convince banking, insurance and energy companies to break ties with Teheran, according to a German magazine report.

An Iranian oil worker opens a valve on a pipe at a oil refinery in Tehran

The move is aimed at making it harder for Iran to get products that are made in the West

The move would be part of Germany's continuing efforts to get Iran to stop its nuclear development programs, weekly newsmagazine Der Spiegel reported Saturday, Oct. 18.

Representatives from multiple ministries met Monday to coordinate a plan, according to the magazine. The finance and economics ministries were tasked with opening talks with industry representatives to discuss sanctions.

Germany has maintained economic ties with Iran and as one of its largest European trading partners. Spiegel reported that trade with Iran has increased by 16.2 percent in the first half of 2008, which has upset the European nation's allies.

A spokesman for the foreign ministry would not comment on the report Saturday.

No more spare Western parts

50,000 rials

Iran says sanctions won't bring down its economy

According to the magazine, the German plans stem from a French proposal for like-minded countries to discourage business investment in Iran so long as neither the United Nations nor the European Union has a coordinated plan for increased sanctions on Iran.

The United Nations Security Council last attempted to pass tougher sanctions against Iran in September but failed when pressure from Russia kept the resolution from being passed.

Western countries strongly oppose Iran's pursuit of uranium enrichment, which they fear is aimed at producing nuclear weapons. Led by the United States and European Union members, the Security Council has imposed three sets of sanctions on Teheran. Iran has said its nuclear program serves only to generate electricity.

The national trade bans reportedly put in place in Germany are intended to focus on products made exclusively by participating countries, making it hard for Iran to find replacements from other countries not participating in the expanded UN sanctions.

Earlier this week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called attempts at pressuring Iran to stop its enrichment program with unilateral sanctions "counterproductive."

Moscow maintains that the "politics of adopting unilateral and anti-Iranian sanctions espoused by some countries is counterproductive," the foreign ministry said in a statement Wednesday.

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