EU to Target Iranian Officials with Travel Bans, Asset Freezes, Says France

French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna speaks after visiting the cargo ship for Ukraine Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022 in the port of Marseille, southern France. (AP)
French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna speaks after visiting the cargo ship for Ukraine Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022 in the port of Marseille, southern France. (AP)
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EU to Target Iranian Officials with Travel Bans, Asset Freezes, Says France

French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna speaks after visiting the cargo ship for Ukraine Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022 in the port of Marseille, southern France. (AP)
French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna speaks after visiting the cargo ship for Ukraine Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022 in the port of Marseille, southern France. (AP)

France's foreign minister said on Tuesday that the European Union was looking to impose asset freezes and travel bans on a number of Iranian officials involved in the crackdown on protesters.

"France's action at heart of EU ... (is) to target those responsible for the crackdown by holding them responsible for their acts," Catherine Colonna told lawmakers in parliament, adding that the EU was looking at asset freezes and travel bans.

The bloc last agreed human rights sanctions on Tehran in 2021. No Iranians had been added to that list since 2013, however, as the bloc has shied away such measures in the hope of reviving a nuclear accord with Iran after the United States withdrew in 2018. Those talks have now stalled.

It currently has an array of sanctions on about 90 Iranian individuals which have been renewed annually every April.

Colonna suggested the new measures could target repressive regime figures who send their children to live in Western countries. Diplomats say the measures are expected to be rubber-stamped at an EU foreign ministers meeting on Oct. 17.

The United States and Canada have already imposed sanctions on Iran's morality police over allegations of abuse of Iranian women, saying they held the unit responsible for the death of a 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in police custody.

Amini, a Kurdish woman, was arrested by the morality police in Tehran for wearing "unsuitable attire" and fell into a coma while in detention. The authorities have said they would investigate the cause of her death.

Iran's supreme leader on Monday gave his full backing to security forces confronting protests ignited by the death of Amini, comments that could herald a harsher crackdown to quell unrest more than two weeks since she died.

Iran Human Rights, a Norway-based group, has said more than 100 people have been killed. Iranian authorities have not given a death toll, while saying many members of the security forces have been killed by "rioters and thugs backed by foreign foes".



Iran Responds to UN Condemnations by Installing More Centrifuges at Fordow

A number of new generation Iranian centrifuges are seen on display during Iran’s National Nuclear Energy Day in Tehran, Iran April 10, 2021. (Reuters)
A number of new generation Iranian centrifuges are seen on display during Iran’s National Nuclear Energy Day in Tehran, Iran April 10, 2021. (Reuters)
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Iran Responds to UN Condemnations by Installing More Centrifuges at Fordow

A number of new generation Iranian centrifuges are seen on display during Iran’s National Nuclear Energy Day in Tehran, Iran April 10, 2021. (Reuters)
A number of new generation Iranian centrifuges are seen on display during Iran’s National Nuclear Energy Day in Tehran, Iran April 10, 2021. (Reuters)

Iran has rapidly installed extra uranium-enriching centrifuges at its Fordow site and begun setting up others, a UN nuclear watchdog report said in what diplomats described as limited retaliation to a resolution by the watchdog's board.
Reuters reported on Wednesday that diplomats said Iran was responding to last week's International Atomic Energy Agency board resolution against it by expanding its uranium-enrichment capacity at its two underground enrichment sites at Fordow and Natanz, but the escalation is not as big as many had feared.
Such resolutions taken by the IAEA’s 35-nation Board of Governors anger Tehran, which typically responds by accelerating its nuclear activities.
Eighteen months earlier, Iran responded to a similar resolution by enriching uranium to up to 60% purity—close to weapons-grade—at a second site and announcing a significant expansion of its enrichment program.
“Iran has rapidly installed two more cascades, or clusters, of uranium-enriching centrifuges at its Fordow site and begun work on more while also planning others at its underground plant at Natanz,” the UN nuclear watchdog said in its report.
“On 9 and 10 June ... Iran informed the Agency that eight cascades each containing 174 IR-6 centrifuges would be installed over the next 3-4 weeks in Unit 1 of FFEP (Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant),” the confidential report sent to member states on Thursday said.

It added, “On 11 June 2024, the Agency verified at FFEP that Iran had completed the installation of IR-6 centrifuges in two cascades in Unit 1. Installation of IR-6 centrifuges in four additional cascades was ongoing,” referring of one of Iran's most advanced centrifuge models.