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EU agrees on new Iran sanctions over Ukraine drone strikes

October 20, 2022

EU ambassadors have agreed on a new package of sanctions against Iranian officials in response to recent drone strikes in Ukraine. Tehran has denied supplying Russian forces with arms.

Firefighters stand on smoking rubble
The aftermath of a drone attack in Ukraine Image: Oleksii Chumachenko/ZUMA/IMAGO

European Union members  have agreed on new sanctions targeting officials in Tehran over Iranian-made drones supplied to Russia and used in strikes on Ukraine, the Czech presidency of the EU said on Thursday.

"EU ambassadors agreed on measures against entities supplying Iranian drones that hit Ukraine," the Czech EU presidency said in a tweet. 

"EU states decided to freeze the assets of three individuals and one entity responsible for drone deliveries [and] is also prepared to extend sanctions to four more Iranian entities that already featured in a previous sanctions list." 

EU has 'evidence' against Tehran

The EU has "evidence" that drones used by Russia against Ukraine originated in Iran, said Nabila Massrali, spokesperson for EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell. Massrali spoke of "a clear, swift and firm EU response."

Ukraine has said the Russian military is increasingly deploying Iranian-made "Shahed-136" drones to attack Ukrainian cities. 

Iran denies providing Russian forces with weapons. 

US calls drone supply a 'violation of UN Security Council'

The EU's move comes ahead of a closed-door UN Security Council meeting addressing the drone attacks requested by the US, UK and France. 

The United States has argued that the Iranian-made drones, previously known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), violated the UN Security Council Resolution 2231 passed in 2015.

The resolution banned Iran's conventional arms sales until its expiration in 2020, despite attempts of former US President Donald Trump to prolong it. 

However, according to the US, the resolution continues to ban any transfers that could benefit nuclear-capable ballistic missiles until October 2023, with only the Security Council being able to grant permission for any transfers. 

Western officials have said the presence of Iranian weaponry being used by Russian forces in Ukraine is a sign that Moscow's forces have been severely depleted after nearly 9 months of war.

Ukraine says Russia uses Iranian-made drones

fb, los/wmr (Reuters, dpa, AFP, AP)