EU Extends Sanctions Against Iran Due to Human Rights Violations


In a statement released on Tuesday, the EU said it will be prolonging the travel band and asset freeze currently in place on 82 Iranian people and one entity until April 13, 2018. This also includes a ban on the bloc’s exports of designated equipment to Iran.

These sanctions are not related to the 2015 nuclear agreement and so do not impact the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). These measures were first put in place in 2011. The legal acts are published in the Official Journal of April 12, 2017 and were adopted by written procedure.

After JCPOA went into effect in January 2016, many senior EU officials, often accompanied by large European business delegations, have been shuttling in and out of Iran. Agreements have also been signed between Iran and several EU states, with the goal of improving cooperation, particularly in political and economic sectors.

However, human rights have continued to be a point of contention between Iran and the international community. Revelations about continuing executions, denial of legal representation and oppression of free speech and other internationally agreed upon rights have made Iran’s international efforts lack the level of success expected by members of the regime.

Economically, the lifting of sanctions related to JCPOA have not had the trickledown effect anticipated by officials. Instead, inflation and unemployment continue to be issues.

Last August, Iran’s Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani dismissed the human rights allegations against the country and proposed that the Islamic Republic and Europe initiate a dialog on human rights.

He noted that human rights have long been a point of friction between Iran and the West, adding that Europe and the U.S. are making use of the issue.

In 2011, the EU imposed the restrictions over the repression of peaceful demonstrators, journalists, human rights defenders, and others. The sanctions also target those involved in torture, inhumane treatment, and stonings or hangings.

There seem to be disconnects between the international community and Iran, as the international community sees Iran as a new market place for economic ties and assistance on regional issues in the Middle East, but cannot reconcile with its human rights violations.

“We want Iran to play a constructive role in the region through support for political solutions, reconciliation, and peace in Syria, Iraq and Yemen and other regions…and cooperation in the campaign against the spread of terrorism and extremism,” said a statement from the G-7 countries, whose ministers met in Lucca on Tuesday. As part of their statement, they urged Iran to use its influence with Syria to stop further attacks on the Syrian people.


Federica Mogherini

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, Italy’s Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano, France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, Britain’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Fumio Kishida participated at the G-7 conference.

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