{mosimage}AFP - A cross-party group of British politicians on Thursday called for the European Union to follow the United States' lead and impose sanctions targeting Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps. The British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom made its feelings clear in a letter to the current head of the rotating EU presidency, Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates, after Washington's unilateral announcement last week.

{mosimage}LONDON (AFP) - A cross-party group of British politicians on Thursday called for the European Union to follow the United States' lead and impose sanctions targeting Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps.

The British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom made its feelings clear in a letter to the current head of the rotating EU presidency, Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates, after Washington's unilateral announcement last week.

"Our committee believes that for sanctions to have a meaningful effect, they must be multilateral," the letter read.

"It therefore feels that it is in the interest of world peace and stability and an asset to the fight against terrorism for the European Union and in particular the United Kingdom to follow suit.

"We urge EU governments to impose sanctions on the IRGC and issue a ban on this institution of terror so as not to give the regime more time to build a nuclear bomb and pursue its ominous projects in the Middle East."

The committee, comprising 50 members of the upper House of Lords and lower House of Commons, also said US sanctions would "contribute greatly" to slashing funding for what it called "the world's number one state sponsor of terrorism."

But the committee made clear it was against military action against the Islamic republic, as tensions mount over the country's disputed nuclear programme.

Washington said last Thursday it was targeting the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which it accused of spreading weapons of mass destruction, and its elite Quds Force, which it designated as a supporter of terrorism.

It also blacklisted three Iranian state-owned banks and companies controlled by the guards as well as the logistics arm of Iran's defence ministry.

US efforts to get tougher on Iran are being frustrated by reluctance from China and Russia, which have major trade links with Tehran, US analysts have said.

Britain and France have called for possible EU sanctions but Germany and Italy -- key trading partners of Iran -- are reluctant to back them.

Representatives of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council -- Britain, France, the United States, Russia and China -- plus Germany meet in London Friday to discuss strengthened UN sanctions.