Iran and EU on collision course over protest-related sanctions | Protests News

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Tehran, Iran – Iran and the European Union appear to be on a collision course over the bloc’s readiness to impose sanctions aimed at punishing Tehran for its response to continued protests.

European officials are reportedly ready to finalize human rights sanctions against Iranian officials and entities at an upcoming meeting of foreign ministers in Luxembourg on Monday.

Iran has made it clear that it will not stand idly by if the bloc joins the United States, Britain and Canada in imposing sanctions, with Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian warning several European ministers of Foreign Affairs of “reciprocal action” in phone calls this week.

“Some countries have considered riots and terrorist actions as protests in interventionist comments, which in fact incite rioters and terrorists,” the Iranian diplomat told his Portuguese counterpart, João Gomes Cravinho, in his last phone call. Friday night.

US media outlet Politico reported earlier this week that Tehran had also warned the bloc privately, sending letters to EU ambassadors and foreign policy chief Josep Borrell warning of “the harmful impact on relations Iran-Europe” that any sanction would have.

But European officials appear unfazed as French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna, who also spoke to Amirabdollahian earlier this week, told French politicians the sanctions would be applied “despite pressure from Iran to qualify our positions as interference”.

It comes as the EU mediates between Tehran and Washington in their efforts since April 2021 to reinstate the 2015 nuclear deal which the latter unilaterally abandoned in 2018. The talks have stalled with a lack of progress, ahead of the US midterm elections. and now the protests in Iran are making an increasingly unlikely breakthrough, at least in the short term.

Protests have gradually erupted across Iran following the September 16 death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who was arrested by Iranian morality police for wearing an inappropriate hijab and died after a three-day coma. after suffering a heart attack in a police station. “re-education” center in Tehran.

The medical examiner’s final report, which was also backed by parliament, said she had not suffered any blows to the head or vital organs, and attributed Amini’s death to conditions arising after surgery of a brain tumor at the age of eight. His family said they suspected ill-treatment in police custody.

Western officials and a number of human rights groups have condemned the conditions surrounding Amini’s death and the security forces’ subsequent response to the protests.

French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday expressed his “admiration” for protesting women and young people and condemned what he called a “repression” by authorities in remarks that drew condemnation from Iran’s Foreign Ministry .

US President Joe Biden said on Friday he was “stunned” by the aftermath of Amini’s death, saying: “It has awakened something that I don’t think will subside for a long, long time.” .

But addressing local and foreign guests at the Islamic Unity Conference in Tehran on Friday, Iranian Amirabdollahian asked: “Who believes that the death of a girl is so important to Westerners?

Children in the spotlight

In addition to attributing the protests to foreign powers like the United States and Israel, Iranian officials have also blamed “terrorist” separatist groups, anti-establishment media outlets and people abroad.

The latest incident involving different stories by media inside and outside the country involves school children, who have featured prominently in protests and been seen in videos taking off their hijabs and chanting slogans.

Foreign-based Persian media reported that a high school student died during a protest at her school in northwestern Ardebil and several students were arrested. Provincial officials told local media on Friday that the “fake and fake” news is being propagated by anti-establishment media “that has targeted the general and psychological safety of society.”

Students have also been arrested in other provinces, which authorities have denied.

Amnesty International earlier this week released the names and photos of 23 children it says were killed by security forces in Iran, a claim authorities have yet to specifically address.

But officials have denied that security forces played a role in the deaths of two of the children named by Amnesty – Nika Shakarami and Sarina Esmailzadeh, 16, whose details of the deaths in Tehran and Karaj respectively have been widely publicized and discussed on social media.

Meanwhile, videos of protests continue to circulate on social media despite internet restrictions – mainly targeting mobile connectivity – that persist across the country.

On Saturday morning, amid social media calls for nationwide protests 30 days after Amini’s death, internet censorship watchdog NetBlocks reported a new “major internet traffic data disruption ” across Iran.

Indictments have already been issued against dozens of individuals accused of being ‘rioters’ in Tehran and other provinces, with judiciary chief Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejei ordering judges to speed up business.

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