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Germany Planning Fresh Iran Sanctions, Report Says


BERLIN (Reuters) -- Germany is preparing a package of fresh sanctions against Iran that U.S. President-elect Barack Obama could use to put pressure on the Islamic Republic when he takes office, a magazine has reported.

"Der Spiegel" magazine said German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier wanted to agree the package with other world powers to give Obama the means to press Iran into dialogue over its nuclear ambitions.

The German Foreign Ministry declined to comment on the report.

Steinmeier's political director had already submitted the idea to French and British officials, Spiegel said. The plan envisaged world powers agreeing on the new sanctions -- without yet implementing them -- to give Obama negotiating leverage.

Obama has said he is prepared to offer Iran economic incentives to stop its nuclear program, but he has also warned Tehran that sanctions could be toughened if it refused.

The West believes Iran's nuclear enrichment program is intended to build atomic weapons, an allegation Tehran denies. Iran's defiance has led to three rounds of UN sanctions since 2006, as well as bilateral punitive measures by Washington.

The fresh sanctions Steinmeier wanted to plan would target banks and transport companies, "Der Spiegel" said.
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