COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION EN
Brussels, 23 March 2012
Human rights violations: Council tightens sanctions against Iran
The Council today reinforced EU restrictive measures adopted in response to serious human rights violations in Iran and prolonged them by 12 months.
The Council added 17 persons responsible for serious human rights violations to the list of those subject to a travel ban and an asset freeze. This brings the number of persons targeted to 78. It also banned exports of equipment and software intended for use in the monitoring or interception of internet and telephone communications by the Iranian authorities. EU High Representative Catherine Ashton said: “The EU remains deeply concerned by the deteriorating human rights situation in Iran. We deplore the continuing increase in executions and the widespread repression of Iranian citizens, including human rights defenders, journalists and members of the opposition. We renew our calls on the Iranian authorities to live up to their international human rights obligations and to protect all fundamental freedoms to which the Iranian people are entitled.”
For reasons of coherence, an already existing export ban on equipment that can be used for
internal repression was transferred from the sanctions regime addressing the Iranian nuclear programme into the legal act modified today.
The measures are now valid until 13 April 2013. Legal acts will be published in the EU Official Journal of 24 March.
For more details on the EU’s relationship with Iran and restrictive measures, see factsheetEuropean Union and Iran.
Do your part to lift the pain of sanctions on Iranian families.
Dear Catherine Ashton:
We, the undersigned, are concerned about the effects the implementation of sanctions are having on average Iranians. We are particularly concerned that items that are not sanctioned, such as medication and humanitarian goods are not reaching the people in Iran.
This is a time of great suffering in the region. We want to ensure that we are not further contributing to the suffering because of the denial of access to a payment channel for humanitarian items. We know the intention of the sanctions is to put pressure on Iran’s ruling elite. We worry that this is not the reality.
The brunt of the suffering falls on women and children and the most vulnerable in society. They suffer the consequences in very real ways. They lose their incomes, their homes, and their access to life-saving medication. Some of this suffering can be alleviated by facilitating the seamless implementation of the existing humanitarian exemptions. These include financial transactions related to medications, basic needs, and other items that are currently not sanctioned.
We ask the European Union to create a payment channel to accept transactions from Iran. This channel should be closely scrutinized. This will allow much needed financial transactions for medications and basic needs to take place.
It is crucial at this time when the people of Iran are desperately trying to make their own voices heard that we show we are listening. They went to the polls in an attempt to show their own government that they wanted reform and better relations with the outside world. We need to show we are listening.
Please help to avert a humanitarian disaster. Allow Iranians access to the international banking system to purchase medications and humanitarian goods.