EU ministers could support sanctions on Iran

EU foreign ministers show cautious support for economic sanctions on Iran following its attack plots in France and Denmark.

Elad Benari,

European Union flag
European Union flag

European Union foreign ministers showed cautious support on Monday for possible new economic sanctions on Iran in the wake of accusations of Iranian attack plots in France and Denmark, diplomats said, according to Reuters.

Denmark and France briefed their EU counterparts at a meeting in Brussels on the alleged plots and ministers agreed to consider targeted sanctions on Iranians in response, although no details or names were discussed, five diplomats told the news agency.

Denmark recently announced that it had recalled its ambassador to Iran, after it accused Tehran of plotting to assassinate three Iranian nationals residing in Denmark.

Israeli media outlets later reported that Israel’s Mossad agency had played a key role in foiling the Iranian assassination plot in Denmark.

Last month, France decided to freeze the assets of Iranian security bodies in the country. The decision came in the wake of a directive to carry out a terrorist attack against Iranian opposition groups near Paris last June, which France said came from the Iranian intelligence office.

Though still at an early stage, the EU’s readiness to penalize Iranians would be the first such move in years after months of internal division over how to punish Iranians accused of destabilizing activities in Europe and the Middle East.

Until now, the EU has been straining to uphold the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers that US President Donald Trump pulled out of in May.

While Trump reimposed the sanctions on Iran that had been frozen as part of the deal, the European signatories to the 2015 deal did not agree with Trump’s decision to leave the agreement and have been trying to save the accord.

The European Union has vowed to help Iran evade the economic sanctions imposed by the US, shielding companies doing business with the rogue state in an effort to preserve the nuclear deal.

Iran has warned it could ditch the nuclear deal if EU powers do not protect its trade and financial benefits.

In March, Britain, France and Germany proposed to sanction Iran over its development of ballistic missiles and its role in Syria’s war, but the initiative failed to gather sufficient support across the EU to take effect, noted Reuters.

Italy was one EU country unwilling to countenance new measures as it sought to preserve business ties with Iran, the report said.