EU readies new Iran sanctions over drones to Russia

The hardening EU stance towards Tehran appeared to bury deeper hopes of reviving a 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which has been eroded since then-president Donald Trump withdrew US support in 2018.

Published: 19th October 2022 05:28 PM  |   Last Updated: 19th October 2022 05:28 PM   |  A+A-

European Union flag (Photo | AP)

European Union flag (Photo | AP)

By AFP

BRUSSELS: The EU is working towards fresh sanctions on Iran after collecting "sufficient evidence" it is supplying Russia with deadly drones for use in Ukraine, a spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

"Now that we have gathered our own sufficient evidence work is ongoing in the (European) Council in view of a clear, swift and firm EU response," said Nabila Massrali, spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.

EU diplomats told AFP there was work under way on Wednesday to draw up a list of Iranian individuals and entities linked to the drones who would be added to the bloc's sanctions blacklist.

One diplomat said it was expected that the list would be finalised in time for a meeting of European leaders starting late Thursday.

The EU on Monday imposed its last round of sanctions on Iran over the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old who was grabbed by the country's "morality police", and the regime's subsequent repression of protests that triggered.

Those sanctions targeted the "morality police" and other security forces, as well as the country's telecommunications minister Issa Zarepour, held responsible for internet blackouts in Iran.

Ukraine has for weeks been accusing Iran of supplying Russia with Shahed-136 drones -- unmanned aircraft equipped with a warhead -- for attacks, and urged EU sanctions.

Borrell on Monday, after an EU foreign ministers' meeting focused on the war in Ukraine, said evidence was still being gathered on the alleged Russian use of Iranian drones.

He noted that Iran has denied supplying the drones to Russia. If proven, such transfers could violate a UN resolution prohibiting Iran from exporting certain weapons.

Russia, too, has issued a denial. The Kremlin on Tuesday said it had "no information" of its forces using Iranian drones and said only "Russian tech is used".

The hardening EU stance towards Tehran appeared to bury deeper hopes of reviving a 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which has been eroded since then-president Donald Trump withdrew US support in 2018.

Borrell has over the past year and half been in charge of coordinating efforts, so far unsuccessfully, to bring the US and Iran back into full compliance with the accord, which aims to curb Iran's nuclear programme.



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