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EU working to expand Iran sanctions after attack on Israel: Borrell

Josep Borrell, the EU foreign policy chief, announced plans to expand sanctions on Iran following its attack on Israel. The EU aims to strengthen measures against Iran's provision of weaponry, including drones, to Russia and Tehran's allies across the Middle East.

Published April 16,2024

The EU's foreign policy chief on Tuesday said the member countries will work toward adopting expansion of restrictive measures against Iran.

After an extraordinary meeting of EU Foreign Ministers in Brussels, Borrell said the Middle East is "at the edge of an abyss and we have to move away from it."

"After this meeting, we will increase our outreach with the key partners in the region. And some member states propose the adoption of expanding the restrictive measures against Iran. I will send to the External Action Service the request to start the necessary work related to the sanctions," he said.

"We are standing by Israel in supporting Israel against the Iranian attacks. But we should not forget the situation in Gaza. And we had to continue working for the immediate and sustainable cease-fire, freedom of the hostages and so forth to avoid this catastrophic humanitarian situation," Borrell said.

There will be "no regional stability" as long as the Gaza war and "dramatic" humanitarian conditions in the region continue, he added.

Israel has waged a military offensive on Gaza since a cross-border attack by Hamas last October, which killed nearly 1,200 people.

More than 33,800 Palestinians have since been killed and 76,600 others injured amid mass destruction and shortages of necessities.

Israel has also imposed a crippling blockade on the seaside enclave, leaving its population, particularly residents of northern Gaza, on the verge of starvation.

The war has pushed 85% of Gaza's population into internal displacement amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine, while much of the enclave's infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which in January issued an interim ruling that ordered it to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.