EU to target Iranian officials with travel bans, asset freezes - France


  • World
  • Tuesday, 04 Oct 2022

French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna attends a meeting with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine September 27, 2022. Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS

PARIS (Reuters) -France's foreign minister said on Tuesday that the European Union was looking to impose asset freezes and travel bans on a number of Iranian officials involved in the crackdown on protesters.

"France's action at heart of EU ... (is) to target those responsible for the crackdown by holding them responsible for their acts," Catherine Colonna told lawmakers in parliament, adding that the EU was looking at asset freezes and travel bans.

The bloc last agreed human rights sanctions on Tehran in 2021. No Iranians had been added to that list since 2013, however, as the bloc has shied away such measures in the hope of reviving a nuclear accord with Iran after the United States withdrew in 2018. Those talks have now stalled.

It currently has an array of sanctions on about 90 Iranian individuals which have been renewed annually every April.

Colonna suggested the new measures could target repressive regime figures who send their children to live in Western countries. Diplomats say the measures are expected to be rubber-stamped at an EU foreign ministers meeting on Oct. 17.

The United States and Canada have already imposed sanctions on Iran's morality police over allegations of abuse of Iranian women, saying they held the unit responsible for the death of a 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in police custody.

Amini, a Kurdish woman, was arrested by the morality police in Tehran for wearing "unsuitable attire" and fell into a coma while in detention. The authorities have said they would investigate the cause of her death.

Iran's supreme leader on Monday gave his full backing to security forces confronting protests ignited by the death of Amini, comments that could herald a harsher crackdown to quell unrest more than two weeks since she died.

Iran Human Rights, a Norway-based group, has said more than 100 people have been killed. Iranian authorities have not given a death toll, while saying many members of the security forces have been killed by "rioters and thugs backed by foreign foes".

(Reporting by John Irish; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel)

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