European Union prepares to enforce an embargo on Iran's oil exports as the West ramps up pressure over Iran's suspected nuclear drive. EU plans to strengthen existing sanctions by ban of imports of Iranian crude as well as targeting finance, petrochemicals and gold Tehran has been urged to return to negotiations. These measures could reduce Iran's ability to fund a nuclear weapons program. US aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln has passed through the Strait of Hormuz and is now in the Gulf, after Tehran threatened to close the strategic shipping route. A British Royal Navy frigate and a French vessel had joined the carrier group to sail through the waterway.
Britain, France and Germany called for a three-month deadline, whereas Greece requested up to a year. A compromise under discussion would see the embargo take full force in five months, on July 1.