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26 January 2012 - 22:36

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has rapped saber-rattling rhetoric against the Islamic Republic and renewed a call for a diplomatic approach to resolve a standoff over Iran's nuclear energy program.

"There is no alternative to a peaceful resolution of this (Iran's nuclear program)," Ban told reporters in New York.

His comments come on the heels of EU foreign ministers' agreement in Brussels on January 23 to impose sanctions on oil imports from Iran over the country's nuclear program.

The sanctions involve an immediate ban on all new oil contracts with Iran, a freeze on the assets of Iran's Central Bank within the EU, and a ban on the sale of diamonds, gold and other precious metals to Iran.

“At the same time, I have been urging the parties to first of all try to defuse the tension. These rhetorics are not helpful," Ban added.

This comes after British Defense Secretary Philip Hammond said on Tuesday that two British and French warships and the American aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln had entered the Persian Gulf on Sunday.

The UN chief also asked Iran to abandon the idea of closing the Strait of Hormuz as the passage “is a very important area for international trade and commerce.”

Tensions between Tehran and Washington over the Strait of Hormuz escalated after the US and the European Union proposed sanctions against Iran's oil sector.

On December 27, Iran's First Vice President Mohammad-Reza Rahimi warned that imposing sanctions against the country's energy sector would prompt Tehran to prevent oil cargo from passing through the Strait of Hormuz.
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