European Union flag flutters outside of the
European Union flag flutters outside of theReuters

The European Union is set to respond to Iran’s lack of cooperation on inspections of its nuclear sites by tightening the economic screws with heavier sanctions on the severely damaged Iranian economy.

Foreign ministers from the 27 nations in the EU are meeting in Luxembourg Monday and are expected to approve new sanctions that were prepared by EU ambassadors on Friday. The new measures will ban dealing with Iran’s banks above a pre-set “relatively low” threshold, except for some areas of medical and humanitarian aid, the European Jewish Press reported.

The new sanctions also will affect trade and gas imports.

Similar to Israel’s ban on transporting materials to Gaza that terrorists can use for explosives and missiles, one EU proposal is to ban the sale of graphite or aluminum to Iran, which could use the materials in its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

The shipping and telecom industries also are targeted.

European Union officials still hold out hope that they can “achieve a comprehensive, negotiated, long-term settlement, which restores international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear program, while respecting Iran’s legitimate right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy under the Non Proliferation Treaty.”

The agenda of the monthly meeting of the EU foreign ministers also will include – again – its desire for negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority towards accepting the PA as an independent country based on its territorial and political demands.

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has ruled out a return to “negotiations” unless Israel accepts the demands ahead of time, limiting “negotiations” to the formality of a face-to-face discussion conditioned on Abbas’ refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state and to declare a Jewish-free Judea and Samaria. He has said Jews would not be allowed to live in PA-controlled areas, including the Old City and other areas of Jerusalem restored to Israel in the Six-Day War in 1967.

Abbas has tried to force the issue by his plan to ask the United Nations General Assembly to recognize the Palestinian Authority, a move that would grant it non-member Observer status in the UN. The Obama administration reportedly is trying to convince European countries to oppose the move.