EU sanctions 3 Iranians, 1 entity over drones claims, Iran responds
The Iranian Foreign Minister tells the EU Foreign Policy Chief that claims of sending Iranian missiles to Russia for use against Ukraine are baseless.
The European Union imposed on Wednesday sanctions against three Iranian individuals and one entity over claims of developing and delivering Iranian drones to Russia to use against Ukraine.
In a statement on its website, the European Council announced that "the Council today added three Iranian individuals and one Iranian entity to the list of those subject to restrictive measures for undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine."
"This is in view of their role in the development and delivery of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) used by Russia in its war against Ukraine," the statement indicated, adding that "today’s decision is a signal of the EU’s resolve to respond swiftly and decisively to Iran’s actions supporting Russian aggression against Ukraine."
COREPERII | ✅ The new #sanctions against #Iran that were swiftly approved by the EU member states have just entered into force via publication in the Official Journal of the EU. See who they're aimed at. ⬇️ #EU2022CZhttps://t.co/8egAHLdrSvhttps://t.co/KtSnarvkVl pic.twitter.com/r9Jk5wHuHo— EU2022_CZ (@EU2022_CZ) October 20, 2022
The EU added to its sanctions blacklist Iranian drone maker Shahed Aviation Industries, the current chief of staff of the Iranian armed forces Major General Mohammed Hossein Bagheri, logistics officer General Sayed Hojatollah Qureishi, and the commander of the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps drone program Brigadier General Saeed Aghajani,
The European Council said that "the EU condemns the delivery of Iranian drones to Russia and their deadly deployment in the war of aggression against Ukraine. The EU will continue to respond to all actions supporting Russian aggression."
The statement explained that "those designated are subject to an asset freeze and EU citizens and companies are forbidden from making funds available to them. Natural persons are additionally subject to a travel ban, which prevents them from entering or transiting through EU territories."
It also noted that "the Council has also signaled its intention to impose restrictive measures against a further two individuals and two entities on the same grounds."
On his part, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba welcomed the announcement of EU sanctions.
On Twitter, he posted: "I welcome the EU’s prompt action following my appeal on Monday to impose sanctions on Iran for helping Russia kill Ukrainians and damage our energy infrastructure."
I welcome the EU’s prompt action following my appeal on Monday to impose sanctions on Iran for helping Russia kill Ukrainians and damage our energy infrastructure. In three days, the EU agreed on a set of restrictions which will take effect as soon as today.— Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba) October 20, 2022
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky claimed on Wednesday that 233 Iranian Shahed UAVs have been destroyed by Ukrainian air defenses over the past 10 days, while Ukrainian Energy Minister, Herman Halushchenko, claimed Thursday that Russia has carried out about 300 strikes on Ukraine's energy system over the past 10 days.
European Council chief Charles Michel welcomed "the EU Council decision to adopt in record time restrictive measures against those in Iran who provide military support to Russia."
On his part, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala, whose country currently holds the EU's rotating presidency, said that "this is our clear response to the Iranian regime providing Russia with drones, which it uses to murder innocent Ukrainian citizens."
Supplying weapons to Russia against Ukraine baseless claim: Iran FM
Earlier, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian posted on Twitter that he reminded EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell in a phone conversation that "our clear policy is to oppose the war and its escalation in Ukraine."
"The claim of sending Iranian missiles to Russia for use against Ukraine is a baseless claim. We have defense cooperation with Russia but delivering weapons and drones against Ukraine is not our policy," Amir-Abdollahian stressed.
Iran requests proof of Russia using Iranian UAVs in Ukraine from Kiev
On Wednesday, Tehran requested documents from Kiev documenting and proving Russia's usage of Iranian drones in Ukraine as part of the ongoing war, the top Iranian diplomat confirmed.
Amir-Abdollahian and Croatian Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Gordan Grlić-Radman had a phone conversation that saw the two discussing bilateral ties between their countries and Iran's stance on the Ukraine war.
"We are strongly against the war and [against] arming each side of the war. We have told the Ukrainian authorities to provide any evidence about the use of alleged Iranian drones in the Ukraine war," the Iranian Foreign Minister told his Croatian counterpart.
امروز در تماس تلفنی بورل بوی یادآور شدم که سیاست روشن ما مخالفت با جنگ و تشدید آن در اوکراین هست. ادعای ارسال موشک ایرانی به روسیه برای کاربرد علیه اوکراین یک ادعای بی اساس است. ما با روسیه همکاری دفاعی داریم اما ارسال سلاح و پهپاد علیه اوکراین سیاست ما نیست.— H.Amirabdollahian امیرعبداللهیان (@Amirabdolahian) October 20, 2022
In the same context, Iran’s ambassador and permanent representative to the United Nations, Amir Saeed Iravani, rejected "unfounded and unsubstantiated” claims that Tehran has supplied Moscow with UAVs for use in the war in Ukraine.
Similarly, Russia’s Deputy UN Ambassador Dmitry Polyanskiy said the drones used in Ukraine were Russian-made, noting that images of the drones downed clearly show Russian inscriptions on them.
Read more: US to impose sanctions on Iran and Russia despite no proof of UAV sale