Home News EU extends Iran sanctions by a year, proposes more

EU extends Iran sanctions by a year, proposes more

FILE PHOTO: Iran's national flags are seen on a square in Tehran February 10, 2012, a day before the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution. REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl/File Photo

By Middle East Affairs

As an effort to ease U.S. President Donald Trump’s doubts about the 2015 international nuclear deal, the European Union has extended its sanctions on Iran, Reuters reports.

The deal, signed between Iran and a coalition of the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany, assured that Iran would curb its nuclear weapons program in exchange for a lift on the international sanctions that had crippled its economy. The agreement, however, came to existence under former president Barack Obama, and Trump has expressed many doubts, threatening to pull out.

Trump said if the other signatories didn’t offer a plan to improve the “terrible flaws” of the deal by May 12, he would not extend the United States sanctions relief.

The European Union wants the pact to stay in place, that’s why it’s just announced that it will extend the only remaining sanction it has against Iran – for human rights violations – until April 2019.

According to Reuters, the sanction includes “asset freezes and travel bans against 82 people and one entity, as well as a prohibition of exports of equipment that could be used for internal repression and monitoring telecommunications.”

This is related to the United Nations’ statement in March accusing Iran of arresting activists and political opponents to squash their freedom of speech, as well as the use torture to coerce confessions.

Britain, Germany and France also put their heads together to come up with a plan. They decided to push the EU to extend sanctions on Iran for its missile program and involvement in Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s civil war, as well as the conflict in Yemen.

However, Italy, Spain and Austria oppose the plan, Reuters said, claiming it will hinder potential lucrative contracts with Iran, and it won’t guarantee that Trump stays in the international deal.

The nations’ foreign affairs ministers will debate the idea on Monday in Luxembourg, where sanctions require a unanimous vote.