Human rights

Expert Voices

With new EU sanctions, Europe takes a stricter approach to Iran

Danish Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen gives a press conference in Copenhagen, on October 30, 2018.
Danish Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen. Photo by Martin Sylvest/AFP via Getty Images

The EU added two Iranian nationals and one branch of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence on Tuesday to its terror sanctions list in response to foiled terror plots, stigmatizing the targets as well as freezing their assets. EU officials recently met their Iranian counterparts to convey that their obligations under the nuclear deal do not inhibit them “from addressing other hostile and destabilizing activities.”

The big picture: The new penalties are the first sanctions not related to human rights the EU has collectively levied against Iran since agreeing to the nuclear deal in 2015. For this reason alone, no matter how marginal their economic impact, the asset freezes are a symbolic victory for the Trump administration, which has been trying to get Europe to join its pressure campaign.

Trump administration has stopped responding to UN investigators

Trump with administration officials
Photo: Alex Wong via Getty Images

The State Department has not responded to an official complaint from United Nations human rights investigators since May 7, 2018, leaving at least 13 formal requests unanswered, The Guardian reports.

The big picture: The UN's network of global watchdogs has recently called for probes into the Trump administration's policies at the U.S.-Mexico border, including the separation of children from their families and the conditions that may have led to the death of two migrant children in U.S. custody last month. An ACLU official tells The Guardian that the U.S. is "sending a very dangerous message to other countries: that if you don’t cooperate with UN experts they will just go away."

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