Iran reacts to fresh wave of EU sanctions

Iran’s foreign minister reacted on Monday to European Union sanctions levied on Tehran, calling them “superfluous” and “an unconstructive act out of miscalculation.”

“The EU today adopted further superfluous sanctions on Iranian persons. It is an unconstructive act out of miscalculation, based on widespread disinformation. Riots and vandalism are not tolerated anywhere; Iran is no exception,” Hossein Amirabdollahian said on Twitter.

On Monday, EU foreign ministers met to decide on a sanctions regime against Iran, while emphasising the importance of reviving a nuclear agreement that has been dormant for several years.

EU ambassadors agreed on a list of 11 Iranian officials and four entities to be sanctioned prior to the ministers’ meeting, according to diplomats. German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said that sanctions would be imposed on those associated with the morality police, a force that has been criticised for abusing detainees and shooting at them.

Prior to the recent dramatic turn of events in Iran: a deadly fire at Tehran’s notorious Evin prison, where the regime holds Iranian political prisoners, as well as dual nationals and foreigners, a list was drawn up.

The EU has been disturbed by the Iranian regime’s bloody repression of protests sparked by the death a month ago of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who was arrested by the morality police for wearing an Islamic headscarf improperly.

Those taking part in the demonstrations have since evolved into anti-regime street protests, demanding the elimination of the mullah-dominated government.

“When we see these horrific pictures of the fire in the prison, when we see that peaceful individuals, women, men, and increasingly young people and schoolchildren are viciously beaten, we cannot and will not turn a blind eye to this,” Baerbock said.

Swedish Foreign Minister Anne Linde said the sanctions were against “those responsible for the repression of peaceful demonstrations as well as the killing of several women.”

“Sanctions against security police, political officials, and those who have led the violence will be an important and welcome decision,” she said.

According to Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn, the EU sanctions will not significantly affect Iran, but he believes that “this system has been in operation for the last 40 years but it is not working now. That is why the European Union must proceed with the initial phase now.”

Iran has already been sanctioned by the United States, Britain, and Canada for the human rights violations that are occurring. Iran has accused the United States of instigating the anti-government demonstrations.

Hopes are fading of salvaging the Iran nuclear deal, which was scrapped in 2017 after then-president Donald Trump withdrew US support. EU nations have attempted but so far failed to get Iran and the United States back in line with the nuclear deal, which seeks to limit Iran’s nuclear program.

The ministers also discussed Russia’s war in Ukraine in connection with Iran. Increasing numbers of observers believe that Iran is supplying Russia with drones to strike Ukrainian targets, while Kyiv denies this.

In response to Borrell, the EU foreign policy chief, the bloc will request “concrete proof” that Iran has used drones in Ukraine.