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12 Apr, 2021 19:52

Iran weighs counter-sanctions, stops cooperation with EU in key areas after Brussels blacklists officials over protest crackdown

Iran weighs counter-sanctions, stops cooperation with EU in key areas after Brussels blacklists officials over protest crackdown

Tehran will suspend its cooperation with Brussels in several areas, the foreign ministry has announced, in response to EU sanctions on Iranian military and police chiefs over the "lethal suppression" of protesters.

Iran is considering reciprocal sanctions and will stop all "comprehensive talks" with the EU on human rights, terrorism, illicit drugs and refugees, foreign ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Monday.

He added that the EU sanctions "lack any credibility" and "have no value as they have been taken by false preachers of human rights."

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Earlier on Monday, the EU announced in its official journal that it was sanctioning three entities and eight individuals over the "widespread and disproportionate use of force by the Iranian security forces" during the 2019 protests.

Hossein Salami, the commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, was among the security officials blacklisted for his role in allegedly killing and injuring unarmed protesters.

Under the sanctions, the military and police officials have been hit with travel bans, while asset freezes have been imposed on three Iranian prisons where the EU claims torture and human rights abuses have been carried out.

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In November 2019, two weeks of demonstrations broke out across Iran over a sudden rise in fuel prices and escalated into demands for the government to resign.

The UN has said that at least 304 people died in the protests and their suppression, while Reuters says it has interior ministry information that shows the toll was around 1,500. Iran denies this.

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