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Officials say France wants more Iran sanctions

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Paris: France has asked the European Union to consider new sanctions against Iran over recent missile tests, in a request made just days after the EU ended sanctions over Iran’s nuclear program, officials have told.

Two officials from European Union nations told AP that the request came last week at a meeting of 28 EU foreign ministers. That was two days after the EU and the US lifted sanctions on Iran in exchange for UN certification that Iran had scaled back its nuclear programs. Iran said those programs were peaceful but critics feared it wanted to build nuclear weapons.

The United States had imposed new sanctions over the firing of a medium-range Iranian ballistic missile just a day before the reported French request.

The two officials said the French proposal is under EU review but most other EU members view it as counterproductive to efforts to revive political and economic ties with Iran after the protracted chill over the nuclear dispute. The officials, who were briefed by people who attended the meeting, spoke only on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the issue publicly.

Disclosure that the French asked for such a review, even if it is ultimately unsuccessful, could complicate a visit by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who arrived in Paris from Rome today to improve political and economic ties now that the sanctions have been removed.

Neither the French government nor the European Union responded to AP requests for comment by late today. A French diplomat who spoke only on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly on the topic cited Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius as saying the EU is considering possible new sanctions on Iran. He declined to say which nation initiated the process.

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