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EU agrees to expand Iran sanctions for missile attacks on Israel

Michael Nienaber and Natalia Drozdiak, Bloomberg News on

Published in News & Features

European Union foreign and defense ministers secured a political agreement on Monday to impose new sanctions on Iran over its attack on Israel.

The restrictive measures will further expand the sanctions that the E.U. already imposed on Tehran for supplying Russia with drones to also include missiles and drones that Iran has provided its proxies in the Middle East. The sanctions may not be formally adopted until later in the week to allow for the technical work to be completed.

“I support extending the drones sanctions against Iran factually and geographically, concerning deliveries not only to Russia but also proxies, and including ballistic missiles,” Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg told reporters in Luxembourg ahead of the meeting.

Countries including Germany and Sweden are also pushing to add Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp to the E.U.’s terror list but an assessment on this of the bloc’s legal service has not been finished yet, which some member states view as precondition, according to people familiar with the discussions.

Germany is aware that such a step would be largely symbolic as there are already wide-ranging sanctions in place against the Revolutionary Guard in the context of Iran’s nuclear enrichment program, said the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The sanctions push on Tehran comes as Iran and Israel launched limited attacks on each other’s soil, sparking concerns about an escalating conflict in the Middle East. The bloc has been struggling to wield influence over the conflict in the Middle East, while even the U.S. has been unable to enforce its calls for restraint by Israel, a close ally.


In addition to hitting Iran’s drone-makers, the measures on Iran are expected to target transfers of weapons to Iranian proxies in the Middle East, including Hezbollah.

Any impact of new measures is likely to be limited given the existing sanctions over Iran’s nuclear program, its crackdowns on protesters and its weapons aid to Russia — and because Europe isn’t currently contemplating restrictions on Iran’s energy sector. Largely shut off from U.S. and European economies, Iran has also developed its missile program in cooperation with North Korea in recent years.

“In past weeks, we have strongly pushed for wider sanctions against Iran and proxies, especially concerning drones,” German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock told reporters. “We need sanctions to work against non-stops missile and drone attacks against Israel.”


(With assistance from Alberto Nardelli, Katharina Rosskopf and Megan Howard.)

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