EU To Widen Iran Sanctions, Including Drones, Missiles After Attack On Israel

New Delhi: European Union leaders convened in Brussels on Wednesday, agreeing to intensify sanctions against Iran. This decision comes in the wake of Iran’s missile and drone assault on Israel, an action that has left the international community on edge, seeking to avert an escalation of conflict in the volatile Middle East region. The Brussels summit marks the first gathering of the EU’s 27 national leaders since the harrowing attack last Saturday, occurring amidst an ongoing six-month war between Israel and the Iran-supported Palestinian terrorist group, Hamas.

While Israel has hinted at retaliation, the specifics remain undisclosed. The EU leadership collectively denounced Iran’s aggressive actions, reaffirmed their unwavering support for Israel’s security, and urged all involved parties to de-escalate tensions, particularly in Lebanon.

Summit chair Charles Michel emphasized the importance of isolating Iran, announcing that the new sanctions would specifically target entities engaged in the manufacturing of drones and missiles. “We feel it’s very important to do everything to isolate Iran,” Michel stated.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz echoed this sentiment, stressing the significance of Israel refraining from launching a substantial counterattack. Meanwhile, Italy, in anticipation of the G7 discussions, advocated for punitive measures against the armament providers implicated in the assault on Israel, as well as those responsible for ship attacks in the Red Sea.

The catalyst for Iran’s offensive was an April 1st attack on its embassy in Damascus, which it attributed to Israel. In retaliation, Tel Aviv initiated a broader military campaign in Gaza following a lethal strike by Hamas on Israeli soil on October 7th.

EU, US Seek To Curb Iranian Aggression

As the EU foreign ministers prepare to resume sanction discussions on Monday, there is a collective hope among the United States and its Western allies that these new measures against Iran will curtail any potential Israeli reprisal.

The European Union already enforces a variety of programs targeting Iran for its human rights violations, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and support for Russia’s military engagement in Ukraine.

Germany, France, and several other EU nations are considering the expansion of an initiative designed to limit the flow of Iranian drones to Russia. The proposed expansion would encompass missile provisions and extend to deliveries made to Iranian proxies in the Middle East.

Belgium has shown support for imposing sanctions on Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, although Scholz indicated that this would necessitate additional legal scrutiny. The EU’s chief diplomat has stated that such measures could only be enacted if an EU national authority determined the group’s involvement in terrorist activities.

Analysts speculate that Iran may be spared from harsher economic sanctions due to concerns over inflating oil prices and the potential to upset China, a major purchaser.

Ukraine’s Plea Amidst Middle Eastern Crisis

With the Middle East dominating the EU’s focus, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy implored for increased support in fortifying his nation against Russia, which initiated an invasion over two years ago.

Zelenskiy addressed the summit, highlighting Ukraine’s dire need for robust air defense capabilities, a stark contrast to the defenses witnessed in the Middle East recently. “Here in Ukraine, in our part of Europe, unfortunately, we do not have the level of defence that we all saw in the Middle East a few days ago,” he lamented.

The Ukrainian leader reiterated his call for expedited delivery of weapons and ammunition, a commitment previously made to his country, underscoring the urgency of bolstering Ukraine’s defensive posture against the ongoing Russian aggression.