EU to Discuss New US Sanctions

EU to Discuss New US Sanctions EU to Discuss New US Sanctions

The European Union will discuss this week whether it needs to impose new sanctions on Iran following recent ballistic missile tests, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Monday, a day after the United States announced such measures.

Washington imposed sanctions on 11 companies and individuals on Sunday for supplying Iran's ballistic missile program, in a move delayed by over two weeks so as not to endanger last weekend's release of US prisoners.

"We have to compare the American system and European system, and to see if there are new sanctions to take or not, and this exercise will be implemented this week," Fabius told Reuters in an interview during a visit to Abu Dhabi.

Iran tested a new medium-range ballistic missile on Nov. 21 in a breach of two UN Security Council resolutions, two US officials claimed on Monday, the second since October.

The US measures come after the lifting of international sanctions over the Islamic Republic's nuclear program. During talks leading up to the deal that ended those sanctions, France was deemed to hold the toughest stance against Iran.

Fabius, who said he would visit Riyadh on Tuesday to meet King Salman and other officials, also added France would like to de-escalate tensions between regional rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran.

"Our view as France is to try to de-escalate pressure," he said, adding that France would also discuss different issues with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani who is due to visit Paris next week.

"When there is an escalation, it's not good for anybody. But still we discuss with everybody and at the same time we stick to our position in favor of security and peace".

The crisis between the kingdom and Iran, both major oil exporters, escalated when Saudi Arabia executed Shia cleric Sheik Nimr al-Nimr on Jan. 2, triggering anger among Shias across the Middle East.

In Iran, protesters stormed the Saudi Embassy in Tehran, prompting Riyadh to sever relations. Tehran responded by cutting all commercial ties with Riyadh and banning pilgrims from traveling to Mecca.