Iran raps EU for blacklisting Syria’s top diplomat

January 17, 2021 - 19:41

TEHRAN – Iran’s Foreign Ministry has denounced the European Union’s decision to add Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad to its sanctions list as “unreasonable” and “unwise.”

“Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh slammed the European Union for its unreasonable, non-constructive, and unwise decision to blacklist Mr. Faisal Mekdad, the Syrian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Saturday, a day after the EU put Mekdad on its sanctions list.

“The EU's move to sanction the Syrian foreign minister will escalate the crisis in the Arab country and further complicate the political settlement of this crisis,” the spokesman said.

He pointed out that the EU decision will only widen the trust gap between Syria and the European Union.

“Such an unpleasant measure will only result in further divergence and distrust between Brussels and Damascus. At a time when the Syrian crisis needs a political solution, blacklisting the country's foreign minister as the person in charge of Syria's foreign policy means nothing but obstructing the peace process,” Khatibzadeh continued.

Describing the decision as “unwise,” the spokesman strongly called on the European Union to reconsider its decision, especially at a time when it was expected to condemn the Zionist regime's attacks and aggression against the Syrian territory in violation of the country's national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and express its serious opposition to the U.S.'s unjust sanctions against the Syrian nation.

On Friday, the EU added Mekdad to its sanctions list, claiming that the foreign minister shares responsibility for what it called “violent repression” against the Syrian population.

“The Council today decided to add Faisal Mekdad to the list of persons subject to EU restrictive measures on Syria, in light of his recent appointment as Minister of Foreign Affairs,” the European Council said in a statement on Friday.

Mekdad was appointed as the new foreign minister of Syria in November following the passing of his predecessor Waleed al-Muallem.

The European decision brings to 289 the total number of persons targeted by a travel ban and an asset freeze, with 70 entities also facing punitive measures.

The European sanctions currently in place against the Syrian government were introduced in 2011 when the Syrian crisis began. At that time, the European Union accused the Syrian government of repressing its population and imposed sanctions on it in accordance with this accusation. Under the EU sanctions on Syria, companies and prominent business people who benefit from their ties with the Syrian government and from the war economy are also subject to sanctions.

“Additional restrictive measures adopted by the EU include a ban on the import of oil, restrictions on certain investments, the freezing of assets held by the Syrian central bank in the EU, and export restrictions on equipment and technology that could be used for internal repression or for the monitoring or interception of internet or telephone communications,” the European Council said.

The relevant legal acts, including the names of the person concerned, have been published in the Official Journal of the European Union.


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