(Reuters) - The Swiss government will not match European Union sanctions on Iran, deciding on Thursday that its own pending set of toughened measures would exclude a ban on trading Iranian oil for "foreign policy reasons".
Switzerland does not import oil from Iran but is one of the top hubs for physical oil trading and hosts a branch of the National Iranian Oil Company NICO.
New Swiss sanctions, which come into force on Friday, will affect supplies for the petrochemical industry, telecommunications equipment, as well as the purchase and sale of precious metals and diamonds, the Federal Department of Economic Affairs said.
They follow an EU ban on the importation, purchase or shipping of Iranian oil which was rolled out on July 1 in an effort to pressure the Islamic Republic over its disputed nuclear programme.
Toughened U.S. sanctions on Iran took effect on June 28.
U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland Donald S. Beyer said in June that the United States was disappointed that the traditionally neutral country had not adopted the EU embargo, adding that he did not expect Swiss authorities to permit the evasion of sanctions.
Non-EU Switzerland said in a statement that oil transactions with Iran had to be reported to the Swiss Economics Ministry and that the government might take further measures later based on these reports.