New financial sanctions have been agreed by the European Union, aiming at pressuring Iran to halt uranium enrichment.
All assets of the Bank Melli, Iran’s biggest bank, are freezed within the EU by the new measures.
Last week, Javier Solana, EU’s foreign policy chief hasn’t received any reply after offering new incentives to Tehran.
Even though Iran insists that its nuclear programme is entirely peaceful, it is defying a demand from the UN to the enrichment of uranium.
In March 2008, a third round of sanctions against Iran over the issue, was approved by the UN Security Council.
The Bank Melli has been accused by Western officials of providing services to Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.
Last year the bank has been placed on the blacklist of the United States, which allows the freezing of any assets found in the US.
Existing UN Security Council sanctions block the sale to Iran of equipment and technology related to nuclear activities. They ban the sale of so-called dual-use items, and call on governments to withdraw financial backing from companies trading with Iran.
The sanctions also prevent dealings with an Iranian state bank and a number of named individuals and organisations.
A package of incentives were renewed to Iran earlier this month, by Russia, China, the UK, France and Germany, to try to encourage the opening of negotiations.
Under the package, if Iran stops uranium enrichment, talks can start about a long-term agreement on Iran’s nuclear programme.
The offer also involves the recognition of Iran’s right to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and the treatment of Iran in “the same manner” as other states, under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
It would mean that Iran would get help with developing nuclear power stations and be guaranteed fuel for them.
The country would also be offered trade concessions, such as the possible lifting of US sanctions, preventing it from buying new civilian aircraft and parts.