EU agreement to sanction Iran over protest crackdown

AFP , Wednesday 12 Oct 2022

EU countries have agreed sanctions on Iran following its brutal crackdown on protests over Mahsa Amini's death and foreign ministers are to adopt them next Monday, diplomats said.

Iranian forces disperse protesters
File Photo: Tear gas is fired by security to disperse protestors in front of the Tehran University on October 1, 2022, Iran. Spontaneous mass gatherings to persistent scattered demonstrations have unfolded elsewhere in Iran, as nationwide protests over the death of a young woman in the custody of the morality police enter their fourth week. (AP Photo, File)


Earlier on Wednesday European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said "now is the time to sanction those responsible" in Iran "for the repression of women".

"This shocking violence cannot stay unanswered," she said.

Four EU diplomats told AFP that political agreement was reached Wednesday on the sanctions and that the foreign ministers' meeting to be held in Luxembourg next Monday was to officialise them.

There were no details on the impending sanctions, but the United States, Britain and Canada have already separately targeted security branches of the Iranian regime.

The United States and Britain have imposed sanctions on Iran's so-called morality police, who arrested 22-year-old Amini last month.

She was taken unconscious from a police station to hospital where she died.

Her family, the protesters in Iran, Western officials and rights groups have all called her death a "killing".

Iran denies that and says she died of natural causes related to childhood surgery.

Canada last week said it will permanently deny entry to more than 10,000 members of the Iranian regime, including those belonging to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps which is leading the repression.

EU lawmakers have been calling for the bloc to put Iranian officials, including those linked to the morality police, on a blacklist prohibiting travel into Europe and freezing any assets in the EU.

The European Union in April 2011 already imposed sanctions on Iran for human rights violations, with more measures added in March 2012 to halt the sale of any equipment the regime might use to repress or electronically spy on the Iranian population.

The latest European sanctions will land at a delicate moment, given that the EU plays a coordinating role in talks aimed at reviving a 2015 deal that curbed Iran's nuclear activities.

Those talks are in an impasse, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has said.

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