NewsEU ramps up sanctions on Iran amid escalating Middle East tensions

EU ramps up sanctions on Iran amid escalating Middle East tensions

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi
Images source: © Getty Images | Contributor
4:03 AM EDT, April 18, 2024

European Union leaders decided on Wednesday to impose additional sanctions on Iran, a decision announced by the European Council President, Charles Michel, after the EU summit's first day. Michel elaborated that these sanctions would target drone and missile production companies.

This political move signals a green light for the technical preparation of a new sanctions package against Tehran. This process will unfold in the coming days, culminating in its formal adoption.

"The idea is to target the companies that are needed for the drones, for the missiles," Michel stated.

The two-day summit in Brussels marked the first assembly of EU leaders since Iran's attack on Israel on Saturday, an event taking place over six months after the onset of hostilities between Israel and the Iran-backed Palestinian fighter group, Hamas.

Israel's Retaliation

In light of the attack, Israel indicated its intent to retaliate. When questioned on this matter, Michel emphasized the EU's call for restraint among the involved parties.

On Wednesday morning, the French President and the Belgian Prime Minister, among others, advocated for intensifying sanctions against Tehran in Brussels.

"Our duty is to expand these sanctions," said French President Emmanuel Macron.

Iran's Strike

In a retaliatory strike from Saturday night to Sunday, Iran targeted Israel following an Israeli assault on an Iranian consular building in Damascus, which killed several high-ranking Iranian officers.

Iran launched over 300 drones and missiles, primarily from its territory, yet inflicted minimal damage. The combined forces of Israel, the USA, France, Great Britain, and Jordan intercepted the majority.

Reports from Israeli media indicate that the country's Ministry of Defense and military leaders believe Israel must respond to Iran's aggression. However, they emphasize avoiding undermining the coalition led by the USA, which supported Israel's defence against the assault. The Israeli war cabinet is keen on ensuring their retaliation does not escalate into a regional conflict.

While Israel intends to align its response with the United States, US President Joe Biden informed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday that Washington would not engage in any direct counterstrikes on Iran.

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