EU warns Iran of new sanctions over suspicions it supplies Russia with drone bombs

European Union foreign ministers warned Iran on Monday that it will face further sanctions if it is proven to be providing military support to Russia in the form of drone bombs. Those responsible for Foreign Affairs of the Twenty-seven, who this Monday approved a new package of sanctions on Iran for the repression of social protests triggered by the death in police custody of the young Mahsa Amini and the violation of human rights, will study evidence of the use of Iranian drones by Kremlin forces in their attacks on Ukraine.

Several ministers have called for prompt action against the Iranian regime for allegedly supplying Shahed-136 drones to Russia for use in its war against Ukraine. The consensus comes on the same day that Moscow has tightened its attack on the Ukrainian capital using these unmanned devices, as reported by the Ukrainian authorities. The Shahed-136 drones are not very accurate, but they can carry a payload of ammunition of up to 30 kilos.

A new package of sanctions for the supply of bomb or kamizake drones to Moscow would be added to the one definitively approved this Monday by the EU, which includes the restriction of entry and freezing of assets of 11 people and four entities related to the violent repression of the demonstrations for the death of Amini, who was arrested for not wearing the veil, as dictated by Iranian law. “We support the brave women of Iran,” the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said on Twitter, adding that the EU will have a “clear” response to Iran’s collaboration in the war that Russia has waged. in Ukraine.

The Twenty-Seven have received information from intelligence and from the Ukrainian authorities that speaks of the use by the Kremlin forces of Iranian-made Shahed-136 drones, which in recent days have been used to attack civilian and energy infrastructure in Ukraine, explained Josep Borrell, High Representative for Foreign Policy of the EU at a press conference after the meeting in Luxembourg. With ammunition shortages and production problems due to sanctions, Iranian kamikaze drones have become important in the invasion of Ukraine. Tehran has assured that it has not supplied any type of military material to Russia.

“All the evidence, or all the things that we have seen, clearly suggest Iran’s involvement,” Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra said. Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have called for the investigation into Iranian drones to be speeded up. The sanctions “should be resolved immediately”, said the Estonian Foreign Minister, Urmas Reinsalu, who has stressed that the restrictions would also work as a “deterrent” element. “Iranian drones are apparently used to attack in the middle of kyiv, this is an atrocity,” stressed the head of Danish diplomacy, Jeppe Kofod.

France and Germany – signatories to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal with the other three permanent members of the UN Security Council – have stressed that drone transfers should be seen as a violation of a UN Security Council resolution and that if it is proven that Iran is supplying Moscow, new sanctions would have to be imposed on the ayatollahs’ regime.

“We are collecting evidence and we are ready to react with the tools at our disposal,” Borrell insisted. “These sanctioning processes must be based on evidence. The evidence exists, it has been provided by the relevant intelligence services. Once all the evidence is available, and there is already a lot, I don’t think there will be any problem with the future steps taken by the Member States”, concluded the head of European diplomacy.

The debate remains open on what sanctions to impose on Tehran if it is proven that it is supplying these aircraft for military use. Civil rights organizations specializing in Iran have warned that European sanctions against individuals and entities will make little dent in the regime, but the EU’s room for maneuver is narrow. The ministers have not specified this Monday the details of the possible sanctions, although the Luxembourg foreign minister, Jean Asselborn, has remarked that they will not be limited to including people on the EU blacklist.

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