TURNING UP THE HEAT: The European Union and Iran raised the stakes Monday in their test of wills over Iran's nuclear program. The EU banned the purchase of Iranian oil and Iran again threatened to retaliate by closing the Strait of Hormuz, through which a fifth of the world's crude is transported.
GIVE AND TAKE? EU officials say the tighter sanctions are part of a carrot-and-stick approach, an effort to increase pressure while at the same time emphasizing their willingness to talk.
U.S. THUMBS UP: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner welcomed the EU decision, calling it "another strong step in the international effort to dramatically increase the pressure on Iran." They said EU sanctions, combined with earlier ones imposed by the U.S. and the international community, `will sharpen the choice for Iran's leaders and increase their cost of defiance of basic international obligations."