February 3, 2023

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EU imposes new sanctions on Iranians for supplying drones to Russia

The European Union on Monday condemned Iran’s military partnership with Russia as a gross violation of international law and announced new sanctions against eight Iranian individuals and entities for their role in supplying drones that Moscow has used to target Ukrainian civilians and Ukrainian infrastructure.

Iran-made drones have been “used indiscriminately by Russia against Ukrainian civilians and infrastructure, causing appalling destruction and human suffering,” the European Council, the EU’s top decision-making body, said in a statement reviewing Iran’s human rights record Strongest condemned.

Russia has used Iranian-made drones in Ukraine since August to attack both infrastructure and military targets, US officials said. On Saturday, Russian forces used Iranian drones to bring electricity to more than 1.5 million people in the port city of Odessa, far from the front lines.

The four people facing new EU sanctions include the commander-in-chief of the Iranian Air Force, the head of a weapons research and development unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard and a Revolutionary Guard officer who organized a drone demonstration for Russian forces in August.

Companies included on the sanctions list include what the European Council described as a “front company” involved in developing drones used by Russia, and a company the Council says made drone engines.

The bloc had previously imposed sanctions on Iranians over the drone shipments. In October, the EU imposed restrictions on the chief of staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, the commander of the Revolutionary Guards Air Force and Shahed Aviation Industries, the company responsible for designing and developing the drones.

More than 1,350 individuals and entities have been subjected to an asset freeze and travel ban by the EU since 2014 for actions “undermining the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine”.

Iran’s military support to Russia has come under heightened international scrutiny in recent weeks, though the Kremlin has denied using the Iranian-made drones to attack civilians and Tehran claims all drone shipments pre-Russian invasion of Ukraine took place in February.

The Biden administration said on Friday that the two countries are forming a “full defense partnership” that is set to intensify in the coming months, while British officials warned that Russia is now ready to buy hundreds of ballistic weapons from Iran in exchange for “an unprecedented measure.” of military and technical support.”

The European Union urged Iran on Monday that any new arms shipments to Russia, and in particular any move toward shipments of short-range ballistic weapons, would be considered a “serious escalation.”