"Europe's new sanctions are tightening the bolt," one senior official said. "There's a sense that something is shifting in Iran, that things are changing. It is possible the regime could be influenced."
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Israel welcomed the European steps describing them as vital for efforts to harm Iran's economy and the ayatollahs regime. "The Europeans approved all that was planned," the state official said.
"These are trade sanctions and any deal will now warrant government approval in every European state. These are serious sanctions and we welcome them. They will have a significant effect on Iran's economy."
Israeli officials have expressed concern that Tehran was not taking economic sanctions seriously but now appear more hopeful of the chances that the sanctions would propel a change in the Iranian position.
On Monday, European governments agreed on further sanctions against Iran's banking, shipping and industrial sectors, cranking up financial pressure on Tehran in the hope of drawing it into serious negotiations on its nuclear program.
The new sanctions mark one of the EU's toughest moves against Iran to date and a significant change of policy for the 27-member bloc, which has hitherto focused largely on targeting specific people and companies with economic restrictions.
New sanctions 'inhuman' and ineffective
Meanwhile, Iran described the new sanctions as "inhuman" and says they will not force any retreat on Tehran's nuclear program.
Tuesday's remarks by Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast amplify Iran's insistence that it can ride out Western economic pressures aimed at reining in uranium enrichment.
"We think the error in calculation which these countries are pursuing will distance them from a favourable result," ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told a news conference.
"We recommend that, instead of taking the wrong approach and being stubborn and using pressure, ... with a logical approach they can return to discussions."
Mehmanparast says the new EU measures will not bring any rollback from Iran on its ability to make nuclear fuel. He called the sanctions "illegal, unwise and inhuman."
AP contributed to this report
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