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EU Expected to Implement Sanctions on Several Iranians for First Time Since 2013

The European Union is expected to sanction several more officials connected to the regime in Iran starting next week in an effort to clamp down on human rights abuses, three EU diplomats told Reuters.

The sanctions are expected to be agreed upon by EU envoys Wednesday, and names will be released when the measures are implemented, which include freezing the individuals’ assets and prohibiting travel.

These would be the first sanctions the EU applies to individuals tied to Iran’s government since 2013.

“These reported new EU sanctions are long overdue – Europe has long turned a blind eye to Iranian human rights violations because Iran convinced them that any sanctions would jeopardize the JCPOA. That was pure fiction, and it’s good that Europe has finally seen that’s the case,” said Former State Department Special Advisor on Iran Gabriel Noronha to The Foreign Desk.

Since the 2015 JCPOA was signed, the EU has largely practiced appeasement towards Iran in an effort to protect what the EU believes to be “a key element of the global nuclear non-proliferation architecture and an achievement of multilateral diplomacy,” according to a January statement by the High Representative on behalf of the EU.

The EU diplomats claim there is no connection between the EU’s anticipated decision to implement sanctions and the ongoing negotiations between the U.S. and Iran related to the JCPOA.

“There’s barely anything left of the Iran Deal since Iran has violated nearly every provision in it, so Europe should continue to increase accountability for Iran, particularly on the officials responsible for slaughtering 1,500 Iranians in November 2019,” said Noronha.

The Biden administration has been calling on Iran to reverse its numerous violations of the JCPOA in return for economic sanctions relief; however, the Iranian regime demands the U.S. relieve sanctions prior to Iran’s compliance, leading to an apparent standstill in negotiations.

In the meantime, Iran is escalating its malign behavior in the region in an effort to pressure the Biden administration to re-enter the deal on Iran’s terms.

Earlier today, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif tweeted a screenshot of a 2019 tweet by President Biden, which read “It’s sadly ironic that the State Dept is now calling on Iran to abide by the very deal the Trump administration abandoned.”

The same Biden quote was also retweeted by National Iranian American Council (NIAC), which Noronha calls “the regime’s influence operation in the U.S.” with “persistent connections to the regime.”

“Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif literally borrows his Twitter posts from NIAC,” tweeted Noronha.

Zarif continued on to say that the Biden administration “follows Trump’s footsteps while trying to use his unlawful sanctions as ‘leverage.’ Nasty habits die hard. Time to kick this one.”

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