EU to sanction Iranians over Syria crackdown

BRUSSELS - The European Union plans to impose sanctions on three Iranians accused of providing military equipment to support Syria’s brutal crackdown on protests, diplomats told AFP on Wednesday.

By (AFP)

Published: Wed 22 Jun 2011, 7:05 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 9:22 AM

The EU reached an “agreement in principle” on Wednesday to widen the list of those facing an assets freeze and travel ban by adding seven people, including the three Iranians, and four companies, a European diplomat said.

The Iranians are accused of “providing military equipment and support to help the regime suppress protests in Syria,” a diplomat said on condition of anonymity.

The expanded list, spearheaded by France and Britain, is expected to be formally adopted on Thursday and come into force on Friday during a summit of EU leaders in Brussels.

The identities of those targeted by the sanctions will be revealed when the EU publishes its Official Journal on Friday.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem denied Wednesday that Syria had received any assistance from ally Iran or Lebanon’s militant group Hezbollah in putting down the protests.

He also said Syria regarded EU sanctions as a “war” against Damascus.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is already among 23 people on the EU sanctions list.

EU foreign ministers had vowed during a meeting on Monday to beef up the sanctions on Syria as they cast doubt on Assad’s latest offer of change, with Britain saying he should “reform or step aside.”

At the same time, several European nations have joined Washington in pushing for a UN Security Council resolution condemning the crackdown, but Russia has warned it would veto such a move.

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said this week it was vital for the UN Security Council “to express the outrage of the world.”

“The silence of the Security Council until now can be seen as an indirect tolerance of what is going on in Syria and that is unacceptable,” he said.

German counterpart Guido Westerwelle Moscow’s UN position “goes in the wrong direction”.

More than 1,300 civilians have been killed and some 10,000 people arrested, according to Syrian rights groups, in the crackdown that has seen troops dispatched to crush revolt in cities across the Middle Eastern country.

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