Switzerland brings Iran sanctions in line with EU

Wed Jan 19, 2011 10:15am EST

* Sanctions tougher on military goods

* Sanctions restrict financial services

* New measures to be effective from Jan. 20

ZURICH, Jan 19 (Reuters) - Switzerland is tightening sanctions against Iran to bring them in line with those of its own trading partners, the Swiss government said on Wednesday.

The new measures, which will come into force from Thursday, should prevent Switzerland from being used as a way for Iran to get goods that it would otherwise not be able to get from other countries, the government said in a statement.

Last year, the United Nations, United States and European Union imposed sanctions on Iran that target the oil and gas sectors, which are vital to the Iranian economy.

Iran is due to hold a second round of talks with six major powers over its disputed nuclear activities in Istanbul on Jan. 21-22. [ID:nLDE70F00S]]

Swiss companies will now no longer be allowed to sell or deliver so-called dual use goods, products which could also be used for military purposes. The existing ban on exports of heavy war material will be extended to all sorts of military goods.

There will also be limits placed on the exports of certain products that could be used in Iran's oil and gas industry as well as on financing in this sector, the Swiss government said.

Switzerland is also restricting the financial services that Iran can get from Switzerland.

In 2010, Switzerland exported goods worth around 700 million francs ($730 million) to Iran.

Western states believe Iran's drive to enrich uranium is a cover for a secret programme to either make nuclear weapons, or at least achieve a capability to do so.

Iran's refusal to comply with previous United Nations Security Council resolutions to allow full inspections of its nuclear sites convinced Russia and China to also back the U.N. sanctions last June.

The United States and the EU added their own additional measures targeting finance and the energy sector.

Iran says its nuclear programme is solely to provide fuel for a network of 20 power plants it plans to build so it can export more of its bountiful oil and gas reserves. (Reporting by Katie Reid)

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