By Alexandra Brzozowski
(EurActiv) — EU member states agreed on Thursday (20 October) on fresh sanctions against three individuals and one entity for supplying Iranian drones that have been used by Russia to bomb Ukraine in recent weeks.
“EU states decided to freeze the assets of three individuals and one entity responsible for drone deliveries (and) is also prepared to extend sanctions to four more Iranian entities that already featured in a previous sanctions list,” the Czech EU Council presidency said.
The sanctioned individuals include Major General Mohamad Bagheri, chief of staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, General Sayed Hojatollah Qureishi, the head of the “Supply, Research and Industrial Affairs” division at Iran’s Ministry of Defence and Armed Forces Logistics, and Brigadier General Saeed Aghajani, the UAV command chief of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Aerospace Force.
The entity in question is Shahed Aviation Industries, the company that designs and develops the kamikaze drones used in Ukraine.
Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala said the sanctions were “aimed at the persons and entities that manufacture and supply the drones”.
“This is our clear response to the Iranian regime providing Russia with drones, which it uses to murder innocent Ukrainian citizens,” he said.
Those designated are subject to travel bans and an asset freeze, while EU citizens and companies are forbidden from making funds available to them.
“The EU is also prepared to extend sanctions to four more Iranian entities that already featured in a previous sanctions list,” an EU statement added.
Ukraine accused Russia of using four Iranian-made drones to bomb Kyiv on Monday and said its air defences have shot down 223 Iranian drones since mid-September.
The Kremlin says it has no knowledge of its army using Iranian drones in Ukraine while Tehran has dismissed as “baseless” the claims that it is providing Russia with weapons.
European Council President Charles Michel welcomed the move as he prepares to host EU leaders at a summit in Brussels on Thursday, which is also meant to discuss Iran’s role in Russia’s war in Ukraine.
“We take swift action against Iran who supports Russia’s war in Ukraine,” he said.