Iran blacklists EU officials, entities for ‘inciting terrorism’

In addition to parliament members, several media outlets and a French town mayor were sanctioned by Tehran.

European Union flags flutter outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium
Iran's move came after the EU imposed sanctions on Iran's morality police and others [File: Yves Herman/Reuters]

Tehran, Iran – The Iranian government has blacklisted a number of European Union officials and organisations, mainly for their stance on the country’s ongoing protests that Iran says amounts to “inciting terrorism”.

While the bulk of the sanctions are related to recent developments concerning the weeks-long protests that erupted last month after the death of a young woman in custody, others deal with Tehran’s repeated grievances with the bloc’s officials and member states over issues that have led to longstanding political disputes.

The Iranian foreign ministry said on Wednesday it had imposed sanctions on 12 individuals and eight organisations for their “intentional actions in supporting terrorism and terrorist groups, inciting terrorism and propagating violence and hatred that has led to riots, violence, terrorist acts and violation of human rights of the Iranian nation”.

The sanctions entail an entry and visa ban for the individuals in addition to the confiscation of any assets they may have in Iran.

The targeted entities include the Friends of Free Iran and the International Committee in Search of Justice, two informal groups in the European Parliament, in addition to Stop the Bomb, an organisation that has advocated sanctions on Iran with the stated goal of preventing it from acquiring nuclear weapons – which Tehran maintains it will never seek.

The Persian-language services of Germany’s Deutsche Welle and France’s RFI were also targeted, extending Iran’s push against foreign-based channels that it says are promoting “terrorism” on Iranian soil. Two directors of the German newspaper Bild were also blacklisted.

The Karl Kolb and Rhein Bayern Fahrzeugbau companies were blacklisted for “delivering chemical gases and weapons” to late Iraqi ruler Saddam Hussein, who is said to have used them against the nascent Islamic Republic during the eighth-year conflict that began with Iraq’s invasion of Iraq in 1980.

A number of European Parliament members were also targeted, in addition to Martine Valleton, the mayor of Villepinte, a commune in the northeastern suburbs of Paris where French authorities said a plot had been uncovered to bomb a 2018 rally of the Mojahedin-e-Khalq group, which is outlawed in Iran. This led to the arrest of Iranian diplomat Asadollah Assadi, who served at Iran’s embassy to Austria, in Germany and his subsequent sentencing in a Belgian court.

The measures mark the first time Iran has officially sanctioned EU officials and institutions, a move that comes as a reaction to the bloc’s sanctions on Iran’s so-called morality police and others earlier this month over their alleged roles in what it called the “brutal repression” of the protests that have gripped Iran since the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in custody 40 days ago.

Separately, Iran has previously blacklisted a group of British individuals and organisations in retaliation for their sanctions related to the protests.

Source: Al Jazeera