SANCTIONS against Iran intensified this week when the Council of the European Union agreed measures banning Gold Dealing, diamond dealing and oil dealing with the Islamic Republic.
As well banning the trade of Gold Bullion, oil and diamonds, the EU announced a freezing of the assets of Iran's central bank and its third-largest bank, state-owned Bank Tejarat.
The "unprecedented package of sanctions...reflects the serious and deepening concerns of the Council over the nature of Iran's nuclear programme," said a statement from HM Treasury in London.
Iran responded by repeating its threat to close the Strait of Hormuz, a major oil export route.
Iran's biggest oil customer is China, which has so far resisted US pressure to reduce its imports. India's oil minister meantime has said sanctions are forcing Iran to sell oil at lower prices – and that India plans to take full advantage – according to news agency Reuters.
In contrast to the European Gold Dealing ban, India plans to pay for Iranian oil imports with gold, according to Israeli website DEBKAfile.
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