Japan Widens Sanctions Against Iran

Posted December 9th, 2011 at 3:30 am (UTC-5)
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Japan announced Friday that it is imposing a fresh round of financial sanctions against Iran, as European Union leaders meeting in Brussels consider their own plan to turn up the pressure on Tehran over its controversial nuclear program.

Japan's cabinet on Friday said it will freeze the assets of 106 organizations, one individual and three Iranian banks. More than 350 Iran-based entitites are now subject to Japanese sanctions.

But Japan's Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yukio Edano said the move will not restrict imports of Iranian crude oil, a step many Western nations have been urging. Resource-starved Japan relies on Iranian oil for 10 percent of its energy supply.

Meanwhile, European ministers meeting at a two-day summit in Brussels on Friday are expected to consider broadening existing sanctions against Iran.

Last week, the EU expanded the number of individuals and businesses targeted in existing sanctions. It also agreed to consider future penalties against Iran's transportation and vital energy sectors.

European leaders have also been discussing a possible ban of Iranian imports of oil into Europe.