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EU imposes new sanctions on Iran over protest repression

December 12, 2022

Foreign ministers of EU countries agreed further sanctions against Tehran over its crackdown on regime critics. An anticipated decision on new measures against Moscow was delayed.

A woman holding a noose around her neck participates in a march in Paris to denounce the Islamic regime in Iran
Protests against the Iranian regime have spread not only in Iran, but also in major cities across the world, like this image taken at a demonstration in France Image: Remon Haazen/ZUMA Press Wire/picture alliance

EU foreign ministers on Monday imposed a new round of sanctions against individuals and organizations over human rights abuses in Iran.

The bloc also blacklisted eight drone makers and airforce commanders in response to Tehran's supply of drones to Russia.

"We are targeting those responsible for this continued repression against protesters," EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said. 

"Also there is the support of Tehran to Russia and responding to the delivery of Iranian drones to Russia."

The EU ministers said in a statement: "These weapons provided by Iran are being used indiscriminately by Russia against Ukrainian civilian population and infrastructure causing horrendous destruction and human suffering."

The EU measures hit top Iranian security officials and a hardline cleric. The Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), its director and a news anchor were targeted by the new sanctions for airing forced confessions of detainees. 

No deal on new Russia sanctions yet

The foreign ministers were also set to discuss the bloc's ninth package of sanctions against Moscow, which would place an additional 200 individuals and entities on the sanctions list.

But they postponed the adoption of a new package of measures against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine to later this week.

The targets are said to include government ministers, lawmakers, regional governors, and political parties.

Successive rounds of sanctions against Russia have targeted trade sectors as well as individuals and entities linked to the invasion, war crimes, and the attempted annexation of Ukrainian territory.

Kremlin sends reinforcements to Ukraine’s eastern front

The ministers, however, agreed to top up a €2-billion (roughly $2.1-billion) fund to finance weapons purchases that has been used for Ukraine in recent months. 

EU responds to executions in Iran

The announcement of new sanctions came as Iran executed a second protester, Majidreza Rahnavard, on Monday.

The death in September of an Iranian Kurdish woman, Jina Mahsa Amini, while in police custody sparked protests across Iran.

The 22-year-old had been detained for allegedly violating an Islamic dress code that requires women to wear a headscarf.

Western governments have already imposed sanctions against Iran over the protests, with the EU targeting the "inner circle" of the country's powerful Revolutionary Guard.

The UK and Canada have already announced sanctions in direct response to the use of the death penalty against protesters.

EU diplomats in October agreed on sanctions against Iran in response to recent drone strikes in Ukraine using hardware believed to be supplied by Tehran.

fb, rs, rc/msh (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)