On Friday, European Union leaders increased their rhetoric towards Iran, threatening to tighten economic sanctions if the Islamic Republic does not curb its nuclear activity.
In a statement reported by Reuters, after a two-day summit the leaders made clear their position, saying “The Iranian regime can act responsibly and bring sanctions to an end. But as long as it does not do so, the EU remains determined to increase, in close coordination with international partners, pressure on Iran.”
Earlier in the week the European Union announced new economic sanctions on Iran targeting its oil and gas industries and central bank.
In the wake of its being awarded a Nobel Peace Prize, The European Union has come under criticism from some for sending mixed signals to Iran.
On Tuesday, after it was reported that a group of European lawmakers would pay an official visit to Iran, European Parliament Vice-President Alejo Vidal-Quadras told a conference in Brussels that “We in Europe should not send mixed messages to the Iranian regime” and that “any formal delegation from the European Parliament or any national parliament in Europe to Iran will be extremely counterproductive.”
Simone Dinah Hartmann, founder of Stop the Bomb, a Vienna-based coalition formed in opposition to Iran’s nuclear activities, wrote in a message earlier this week to Martin Schultz, President of the European parliament that “We urge the conference of Presidents to prohibit courting the Iranian Regime as they did in 2011. This trip entirely contradicts the spirit of the European Union’s sanctions and it thwarts the recent decisions by the EU member states. Instead of increasing pressure on Tehran, this trip offers the regime the possibility to celebrate yet another propaganda success.”