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Brussels readies new Iran sanctions over drones sold to Russia

by host

The EU is planning to sanction multiple Iranian individuals and entities within the coming days over arms sales to Russia, four officials and diplomats told POLITICO’s Brussels Playbook.

The move comes amid reports that Russia has used Iranian drones to strike civilian targets in Ukraine and may soon receive precision-guided Iranian missiles. According to U.S. intelligence cited by the New York Times, Tehran has also been sending drone trainers to Russian-occupied Crimea.

The new round of sanctions will hit five Iranian individuals and three entities, the officials and diplomats said. The new penalties would come on top of sanctions already agreed on Monday against Iran’s “morality police” for the brutal persecution and killings of Iranians protesting against the government.

Diplomats from EU countries could agree on the details for the new package as soon as Wednesday, ahead of the upcoming European Council summit on Thursday and Friday.

The sanctions will be another significant setback for negotiations to restore the Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which lifted many U.S. sanctions on Tehran in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program. Negotiators have been working to restore the 2015 nuclear deal, after then-U.S. President Donald Trump abandoned it in 2018.

“Sincerely, the JCPOA does not count anymore,” one senior official from Europe told Brussels Playbook. “We have gotten used to the idea that this will not move forward.”

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