Connect to share and comment

Australia imposes sanctions on Iran

Australia joins the European Union in an effort to curb Iran's nuclear capabilities.

Australia iran sanctions 2012 24 01Enlarge
Australia's Foreign Secretary Kevin Rudd (R) and Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague attend a press conference on International Cooperation at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London, on January 24, 2012. (ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Australia will follow the European Union's lead in imposing sanctions on Iran's oil imports, Foreign Secretary Kevin Rudd said Tuesday in London, CNN reported.

The announcement comes amid growing international concern over Iran's nuclear program. On Monday, the European Union announced it would further limited the sale of Iranian oil and freeze assets as part of the sanctions.

More from GlobalPost: Iranian lawmakers warn of attack against US if Iran's oil trade disrupted

The measure means that new contracts on Iranian crude will be banned and existing ones will run out in July.

Rudd said Australia was "deeply concerned" about Tehran.

"We believe this is the right course of action," he said. "We believe that for the simple reason that the Iranian nuclear weapons program is fundamentally destabilizing, not just for the wider Middle East and the Gulf states, but also for the wider world."

Speaking with Rudd, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said until Iran returns to the negotiating table pressure on Tehran will only increase.

Rudd also said Australian exports to Iran had "declined massively" because of previous sanctions, Reuters reported. "This costs, but it is a cost worth paying," he said.

Meanwhile, Iran has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz in response to the EU embargo.

More from GlobalPost: US aircraft carrier sails through Strait of Hormuz despite Iranian warning

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/120124/australia-imposes-sanctions-iran