EU enacts new sanctions on Iran

European Union Nations are enforcing an embargo against Iran as part of sanctions over its disputed nuclear program. The sanctions follow financial punishments signed into law by the U.S. on December 31 last year. The sanctions chiefly target the oil sector, which accounts for some 90 percent of Iranian exports to the European Union. Under the new agreement, all new contracts for crude oil and petroleum products between Iran and any of the EU's 27 member states will be forbidden while existing contracts will be suspended by June.

The U.N.'s International Atomic Agency also confirmed on Monday that a high-level visit to Iran would take place from January 29-31 to discuss Tehran's nuclear activities.

French and British warships had joined a U.S. carrier aircraft group over the weekend and passed through the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow passage between Iran and Oman. Iran has threatened to close the strait in retaliation to tightening sanctions, imperilling much of the world's oil supply.

The west believes that Iran's uranium enrichment program is part of an effort to build a nuclear bomb, but Iran says the program is to generate electricity.

France, Britain and Germany declared after the decision that they were willing to negotiate with Iran if it was ready to talk seriously about its nuclear program. "We call on Iran's leadership immediately to suspend its sensitive nuclear activities and abide fully by its international obligations," said the countries in a joint statement.

Iran's foreign ministry remained defiant to the sanctions, calling them "unfair" and "doomed to fail."

However, many are questioning the efficacy of the embargo.

The real problem for Iran comes from Asia and not from Europe. If China, South Korea, Japan and India move towards reducing their oil from Iran, that will create a serious problem for this country. Four Asian nations purchase about 59 percent of Iran's oil each year, while EU countries account for only 18 percent.

Russia and China have thwarted the adoption of the UN Security Council resolution on Syria

Russia and China didn’t support a European-Arab draft aimed at overturn of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the establishment of democracy in
Read more text

"Friends of Syria" meeting in Tunis

February 24. Today's meeting in Tunis of the "Friends of Syria", an event put forward by the Arab League, hosted by Tunisia and backed by the US, E
Read more text

Iraq after the U.S. military withdrawal: growing violence

Since the United States military withdrew from Iraq in the middle of last month, 434 Iraqis have been killed in attacks across the country, accordi
Read more text