EU moves closer to substantial new Iran sanctions

BRUSSELS, Oct 12 (Reuters) - Senior European Union diplomatsgave their preliminary approval to new sanctions against Iranover its nuclear progamme on Friday, including major measuresagainst the Islamic Republic's banking sector and industry, anEU diplomat said on Friday.

The new sanctions will have to be formally approved onMonday at an EU foreign ministers' meeting in Luxembourg beforecoming to effect.

They include a ban on financial transactions, with someexceptions; a ban on imports of natural gas from Iran into theEuropean Union; and a ban on exports of metals to Iran. EUstates will also be banned from extending short-term guaranteesfor trade with Iran.

"Coreper (a committee of EU ambassadors) agreed thesanctions package on (the) Iranian nuclear programme," said thediplomat in a message to Reuters.

(Reporting by Justyna Pawlak. Editing by Sebastian Moffett.)

((Justyna.Pawlak@thomsonreuters.com)(+32 2 287 6853 x82853))