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Scholz says EU mulling ‘further steps’ against Iran

By AFP - Oct 31,2022 - Last updated at Oct 31,2022

BERLIN — German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Monday that the European Union is considering further sanctions against Iran over its “excessive” crackdown on demonstrators.

“I am shocked that people who are peacefully demonstrating at protests in Iran are dying,” Scholz tweeted.

“We condemn the excessive violence of the security forces and stand by the people in Iran. Our EU sanctions are important. We are reviewing further steps.”

The Islamic Republic has been rocked by protests since the death in custody of Mahsa Amini following her arrest in Tehran for alleged breach of the country’s dress rules for women.

In response, the EU on October 17 imposed sanctions against Iran’s “morality police” and 11 officials including the telecommunications minister.

Last week, Berlin condemned Tehran for imposing sanctions on European-based media in retaliation and vowed to tighten its rules for entry to Iran, going beyond EU sanctions.

And on Sunday, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said that Berlin and the EU were examining whether to list Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as a “terrorist organisation”.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani on Monday denounced the proposal.

“The Revolutionary Guards are the official military body of the Islamic republic, and this action is completely illegal,” Kanani told reporters.

“Germany’s decision to sanction the Guard, if it takes such action, is a continuation of that country’s irresponsible and unconstructive actions.”

The Revolutionary Guard are already on the United States list of foreign “terrorist” entities.

EU Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Nabila Massrali said that for the bloc to list a “terrorist organisation”, a member state had to decide to do so first using accepted criteria, followed by unanimous agreement among the EU members.

Baerbock’s comments came as protesters in Iran rallied again Sunday, defying an order from the Revolutionary Guards to stop the demonstrations.

Amini, 22, died in custody on September 16 after her arrest in Tehran, triggering a wave of unrest and a state response on the “riots” that Amnesty International calls a “brutal crackdown”.

Oslo-based group Iran Human Rights said on Friday that at least 160 protesters, including more than two dozen children, had been killed since protests began.


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