Iranwire – The EU’s foreign policy chief says he had a “tough exchange” with the Iranian foreign minister on the “unacceptable developments” inside Iran and on the country’s “extremely worrying” military support to Russia.
Josep Borrell traveled to Jordan earlier this week to attend an international conference focused on bolstering security and stability in Iraq. On the sidelines of the event, he met with Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir- Abdollahian.
In a statement published on December 23, Borrell said that the EU is “closely following the brutal way Iranian authorities deal” with the ongoing wave of nationwide protests.
“The Islamic Republic should listen to its own citizens, instead of repressing them,” the EU official said, urging Iran’s clerical leadership to “stop the executions of arrested people and the bloody repression of peaceful protesters.”
Borrell also said that Iran’s regime is “making a huge strategic mistake” by delivering military drones to Russia, which he said amounted to supporting Moscow’s illegal war of aggression against Ukraine.
Iran has been rocked by protests since the September death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died after being detained by the morality police. The protests have since morphed into one of the most serious challenges to the theocracy installed by the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Security forces have violently cracked down on the demonstrations, killing at least 469 people, including 63 children, according to one human rights group.
At least 18,000 others have been detained. Dozens have been handed capital punishment or are facing charges that carry a death sentence. Iran carried out the first two executions earlier this month, triggering international condemnation.
The European Union, the United States and other countries have imposed sanctions on Iranian individuals and entities for their roles in the bloody crackdown and in the supply of drones to Russia, which has used the aircraft to target Ukrainian power stations and civilian infrastructure.
Iran has admitted supplying Moscow with drones but said they were sent before Russia invaded Ukraine in February.
Iran “is choosing the wrong path and is destroying its credibility when it pretends not to take sides in that war” in Ukraine, Borrell said, urging Tehran to “stop immediately its military support to Russia.”
“Siding with Russia and the unacceptable repression of protests cannot come without consequences. That is why last week’s Foreign Affairs Council adopted new sanctions against Iran in reaction to its delivery of drones to Russia, as well as because of the human rights violations.”