EU to mull measures against Iran over possible missile transfers to Russia – draft

By Thomson Reuters Mar 12, 2024 | 5:13 AM

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union leaders are ready to respond with new and significant measures against Iran amid reports that Tehran may transfer ballistic missiles to Russia for use against Ukraine, draft conclusions of a summit to be held next week said.

“The European Council calls on third parties to immediately cease providing material support to Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine,” said the draft text, seen by Reuters.

Iran has provided Russia with a large number of powerful surface-to-surface ballistic missiles, six sources told Reuters, deepening the military cooperation between the two countries, which are both under U.S. sanctions..

“Reports that Iran may transfer ballistic missiles and related technology to Russia for use against Ukraine are very concerning,” the draft conclusions of the March 21-22 summit said.

“The European Union is prepared to respond swiftly and in coordination with international partners, including with new and significant measures against Iran.”

The conclusions also said the leaders would call on High Representative Josep Borrell and the Commission to prepare further sanctions against Belarus, North Korea and Iran.

France, Germany and Britain last September retained ballistic missile and nuclear proliferation-related sanctions on Iran that were set to expire in October under the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

Officials at the time said that decision had been made in large part due to Russia’s use of Iranian drones against Ukraine and the possibility Iran might transfer ballistic missiles to Russia.

British Defence Minister Grant Shapps said in an interview with House Magazine earlier this month that London had information concerning Iran’s provision of ballistic missiles to Russia.

“I do. I can’t go into it,” Schapps was quoted as saying. “Whether it’s ballistic missiles, or the Shahed drones that they supplied Russia with, we’ve seen that if there’s struggle in the world, often Iran are egging it on, or helping to supply the food chain in this case.”

(Reporting by Jan Strupczewski; writing by John Irish; Editing by Alex Richardson and Angus MacSwan)