EU backs new Iran sanctions amid worries Teheran is aiding Russia

Iranian demonstrators taking to the streets of the capital Teheran during a protest for Mahsa Amini. PHOTO: AFP

LUXEMBOURG CITY – European Union nations agreed on Monday to a new package of sanctions on Iran over human-rights violations related to the death of a young Iranian woman in police custody.

Swedish foreign minister Ann Linde said that she and her counterparts meeting in Luxembourg discussed the “serious situation” in Iran, including the deadly violence against protesters in recent weeks, adding that the sanctions package was approved. 

The package targets 11 Iranian people and four entities, said Austrian foreign minister Alexander Schallenberg, although the names have not been released yet.

“It was clear that we can’t have no reaction, that we can’t put our hands in our lap and just continue watching,” he said. 

Protests erupted in Iran on Sept 16 over the death of Ms Mahsa Amini, who had been arrested for allegedly flouting the country’s dress codes. 

Iran has vowed an “immediate” response, saying it would “decide and act immediately in accordance with the decisions and actions” taken by EU member countries, foreign ministry spokesman Naser Kanani said.

“If they initiate new sanctions, this action is definitely unconstructive and irrational.”

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the bloc’s foreign ministers on Monday would also discuss reports about Iran’s military support for Russia in its war in Ukraine.

These include allegations that Moscow is using Iranian drones to launch kamikaze-style attacks on targets in Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities.

“Iran, with its drones and missiles, is becoming an accomplice in the war, in a similar fashion as Belarus,” Lithuanian foreign minister Gabrielius Landsbergis told reporters. “There has to be a clear attribution of missile ownership by allies who are aiding Ukraine and I will be calling for that to happen.” 

Asked about reports that Iran is sending missiles, in addition to drones, to Russia and whether these warrant added sanctions, Mr Borrell said “this is something that will be discussed”, adding “we will look for concrete evidence of the participation that Iran in the strongest possible terms denies”. AFP, BLOOMBERG

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