News ID: 279511
Published: 0432 GMT January 16, 2021

Iran denounces EU's ‘unwise’ move to sanction Syrian FM

Iran denounces EU's ‘unwise’ move to sanction Syrian FM

Iran has slammed the European Union’s “unwise and unconstructive” move to add recently-appointed Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal al-Mekdad to its sanctions blacklist, saying it only puts obstacles in the way of peace process in the war-ravaged country.

The EU move against Mekdad would intensify the critical situation in Syria and further complicate the political settlement of the crisis in the war-hit country, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Saturday, Press TV reported.

“Such abominable act will only lead to further divergence and a consequent rise in distrust between Brussels and Damascus,” he said, adding, “Under the circumstances that the Syrian crisis needs a political solution, blacklisting the country’s foreign minister, as the official in charge of foreign policy, amounts to nothing but the obstruction of the peace process."

Khatibzadeh strongly urged the EU to review its decision, particularly at a time that the bloc was expected to condemn the Israeli regime’s recent attacks and aggression against Syria that violated the Arab country’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The EU is also expected to express its strong opposition to unjust US sanctions against the Syrian people, he pointed out.

On Friday, the European Council in a statement announced its decision, which includes a travel ban and asset freeze, against the top Syrian diplomat who became foreign minister in November, shortly after his predecessor Walid al-Muallem passed away.

The EU has imposed several rounds of sanctions against Syria, the first of which came in May 2011. They include travel bans, asset freezes, and measures targeting operations like oil imports, certain investments as well as technology transfer.

The sanctions are subject to annual review.

The latest decision by the EU on Friday against Damascus brings to 289 the total number of Syrian individuals targeted by a travel ban and an asset freeze. Seventy entities in the Arab country are also subject to an asset freeze by the European body.

The US, for its part, has imposed rounds of crippling sanctions against Syria. Parts of the sanctions have been imposed under the so-called Caesar Act, an American piece of legislation that alleges to support the Syrian people by protecting them against the Syrian administration’s way of governance.

Damascus has time and again said that the US and its allies have defied calls from the UN chief and the UN human rights council for the lifting of such restrictive measures, particularly at the time of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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