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Europeans, American Set to Ratchet-Up Sanctions with Iran Apparently on Financial Ropes

The European Union and the United States are set to ratchet-up the intensity of sanctions against Iran in the aftermath of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s call for red-lines. Aimed at least in part at keeping Israeli unilateral action at bay, the EU will focus on economic measures, the specifics of which will be determined when EU foreign ministers meet in Luxembourg on October 15. The US is also expected to fine-tune its economic sanctions, seeking ways to hurt the government but not the Iranian people. Sanctions are seen as having had a devastating effect on Iran’s economy, some saying it’s nearing bankruptcy, but the nuclear program is clearly continuing at full speed, a fact noted by Netanyahu in his speech to the General Assembly. In an interview with the Israeli daily Haaretz, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman opined that the economic situation in Iran has become so difficult as the result of sanctions that Tehran could end up like Cairo in the days leading up to the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak. He said, “The opposition demonstrations that took place in Iran in June 2009 will come back in even greater force. In my view, there’s going to be an Iranian-style Tahrir revolution.”