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EU Tightens Sanctions Against Iran For Human Rights Violations

The European Council on Friday reinforced EU restrictive measures adopted in response to serious human rights violations in Iran and extended them for another year.

The Council added 17 persons responsible for serious human rights violations to the list of those subject to a travel ban and an asset freeze. This brings the number of persons targeted to 78. It also banned exports of equipment and software intended for use in the monitoring or interception of Internet and telephone communications by the Iranian authorities.

EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton expressed deep concern over the deteriorating human rights situation in Iran. She deplored the continuing increase in executions and the widespread repression of Iranian citizens, including human rights defenders, journalists and members of the Opposition. Ashton said the European Union "renew our calls on the Iranian authorities to live up to their international human rights obligations and to protect all fundamental freedoms to which the Iranian people are entitled."

For reasons of coherence, an already existing export ban on equipment that can be used for internal repression was transferred from the sanctions regime addressing the Iranian nuclear program into the legal act modified on Friday, the European Council said. The measures are valid until April 13, 2013.

Meanwhile, the European Council approved the implementing legislation for the most recent EU restrictive measures in response to the Iranian nuclear program. Its publication in the bloc's Official Journal on Saturday will ensure the full effect of the sanctions adopted by the Council on January 23 and developed on March 15.

The regulation approved on Friday defines the precise scope of the measures agreed in January, including the trade restrictions on oil, petroleum products and petrochemical products and the asset freeze against the Iranian Central Bank. It also clarifies relevant administrative procedures for national authorities implementing the sanctions.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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