Monday January 30, 2023

Iran weapons proliferation is risk ‘to us all’, warns EU

November 19, 2022

MANAMA: Iran´s “weapons proliferation” is a threat to Europe, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen warned on Friday, hinting at further sanctions against the Islamic republic.

Tehran is teaming up with its biggest ally, Russia, to undermine “our global order” by providing weapons such as drones, she told the Manama Dialogue conference. “Several Gulf countries have been warning for years about the risk that Iran feeds rogue nations around the world with drones,” von der Leyen said in Bahrain, the tiny island state that lies between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

“It took us too long to understand a very simple fact that while we work to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, we must also focus on other forms of weapons proliferation, from drones to ballistic missiles.”

“It is a security risk not just for the Middle East, but for us all,” she added. On Monday, the European Union hit more than 30 senior Iranian officials and organisations with sanctions over the ongoing crackdown on protesters in the Islamic republic.

Tehran has warned of a “proportionate and firm” response to the EU over the expanded sanctions. “We are coordinating with partners and allies to take further sanctions against Iran responding to the proliferation of Iranian drones,” von der Leyen said. Iran has admitted that it sent drones to Russia but insisted they were supplied to its ally before Moscow´s invasion of Ukraine.