The EU is preparing to expand its sanctions against Iran

The European Union is preparing an expansion of its sanctions regime against Iran, following this weekend’s “unprecedented” air attack against Israel, the head of European diplomacy announced late Tuesday. , Josep Borrell.

The sanctions regime against Iran for its supply of drones to Russia, as part of the invasion of Ukraine, could be extended to missiles, explained the Spaniard, at the end of an extraordinary informal meeting, by videoconference, Union foreign ministers.

This step would be taken even in the current absence of evidence that Iranian missiles were supplied to Moscow to attack Ukraine. Because it must be read in parallel with another form of expansion of the sanctions regime against Iran, this one of a geographical nature: the supply by Iran of these weapons to its “proxies”, that is- i.e. the groups that Tehran supports in the Middle East. Mr. Borrell cited forces on the border of Lebanon, in Yemen, Syria, Iraq and elsewhere.

“The EU’s commitment to Israel’s security”

Iran fired hundreds of missiles and drones overnight from Saturday to Sunday at Israel, in retaliation for a deadly attack on its consulate in Damascus attributed to Israel. Almost all of these missiles and drones were intercepted by Israeli air defenses with the help of the United States and other allied countries.

The Twenty-Seven reiterate their condemnation in the strongest terms of the Iranian attack, reaffirm the EU’s commitment to Israel’s security and call on all stakeholders to exercise restraint. “The region is on the edge of the abyss,” warned Mr. Borrell, using the words of the UN Secretary General. For the senior diplomat, it is also important “not to forget Gaza”, while attention is currently focused on tensions between Israel and Iran.

At the request of certain member states, the EU diplomatic service will also re-examine the question of recognizing the Islamic Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization. But the legal basis is lacking, since no Member State has put forward concrete proof of the involvement of these paramilitaries in terrorist activities, repeated Mr. Borrell.

European foreign ministers are meeting on Monday, as part of a formal meeting, to move forward on these sanctions. Before that, tensions in the Middle East will also be on the agenda of the summit of EU heads of state and government this Wednesday in Brussels.

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