EU sanctions Iran over Ukraine drone strikes
The European Union has adopted a new set of sanctions targeting Iranian officials and one entity for allegedly supplying Russia with ‘kamikaze’ drones that have been used against Ukrainian forces in recent weeks. Both Moscow and Tehran have repeatedly denied the allegations.
After three days of talks, the Czech presidency of the EU Council said on Thursday that the new anti-Iran sanctions were approved “in record time.” The measures have now officially come into force after being published in the EU’s Official Journal, the bloc’s legal register for EU regulations.
The sanctions will freeze the assets of three Iranian generals and drone maker Shahed Aviation Industries. The EU claims they are responsible for delivering Shahed-136 suicide drones to Russia, which allegedly rebranded them as Geran-2 (Geranium-2). The bloc says it is also prepared to “extend sanctions to four more Iranian entities that are already featured in a previous sanction list.”
Moscow, meanwhile, has maintained that all weapons used by Russian troops on the battlefield in Ukraine, including the Geran-2 UAVs, are from domestic stockpiles and has repeatedly dismissed accusations from American, European and Ukrainian officials of using Iranian-supplied drones. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has claimed that Russia acquired as many as 2,400 of the UAVs.
Tehran has also denied delivering its domestically-produced drones to Russia. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has ridiculed the West for claiming Iran’s drones are “dangerous” when it had previously dismissed the country’s UAV program as a propaganda stunt.
Last month, Ukraine cut diplomatic ties with Iran over the alleged supply of weapons to Russia. Washington, meanwhile, has accused Tehran of violating the terms of the 2015 UN Security Council resolution that imposed an embargo on Iranian arms exports.