Iran has announced fresh sanctions on dozens of European Union and British officials and entities in a reciprocal move, accusing them of “deliberate actions in supporting terrorism”.
In a statement, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said it was designating 23 individuals and 9 entities, including prominent lawmakers, military figures and media groups.
“Due to their deliberate support for terrorism and terrorist organizations as well as incitement to terrorism, violence, and hatred that has fueled riots, violence, terrorist acts, and human rights violations, the foreign ministry imposes sanctions on the EU officials and entities,” the statement said.
The Iranian move came hours after EU foreign ministers imposed new sanctions against Iran amid months-long protests in the country.
The protests were triggered by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while in the custody of morality police in mid-September, which also sparked fresh tensions between Tehran and the West.
The sanctioned British military officials include Ken McCallum, chief of the UK’s spy agency MI5; Tony Radakin, UK’s chief of the defense staff; and Robert Jenrich, the minister of state for immigration.
British entities sanctioned include the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, Royal Air Force Menwith Hill, the UK Naval Support Facility in Bahrain, and the British Committee for Iran Freedom.
The EU individuals slapped with sanctions include German politicians, former French lawmakers, as well as Bernard Kouchner, the co-founder of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).
Two German companies, Water Engineering Trading GmbH and Gidlemeister Projekta GmbH, were also sanctioned for “manufacturing” chemical weapons used by former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s.
The latest package of sanctions also targets media groups such as Radio Farda, the Persian language service of Radio Free Europe in Prague, Amsterdam-based Radio Zamaneh, and controversial French weekly Charlie Hebdo.
The statement noted that sanctions include a ban on visas to Iran as well as seizing their properties and assets in the country, a move basically designed against Iranian expatriates working for these media outlets.
The penalties came after EU foreign ministers slapped new sanctions on Iran in connection with the anti-government protests that have rocked the country in recent months, as well as the supply of drones to Russia.
A total of 21 individuals and one entity were added to the human rights-related sanctions list, while four other people and four entities were designated over drone supplies to Moscow.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the bloc “will take any action we can to support young women and peaceful demonstrators".
Tensions between Iran and the EU have heightened in recent months amid countrywide protests in the country as well as reports of Iran supplying drones to Russia for use in the Ukraine war.
On Friday, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said he spoke to Borrell and stressed that Tehran is ready to “respond to sanctions and interference”.
“I said if the US and the E3 think, via pressure, they generate leverage in the negotiations, they are wrong,” he wrote in a tweet. “We respond to sanctions & interference. Concurrently, we are on the way to the final stage of a good, strong and durable agreement.”
Tensions between the two sides have escalated further after Iran executed two men this week for involvement in the months-long protests. Nine more people are sitting on the death row.