A group of European Union candidate countries have aligned themselves with a recent decision by the bloc to impose sanctions on Iran for its support for Russia's war on Ukraine.
On July 20, the EU Council adopted a decision introducing a fresh sanctions framework aimed at Iran's involvement in supporting Russia's military. This framework includes a ban on exporting components for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) from the EU to Iran, as well as provisions for potential travel bans and asset freezes targeting individuals connected to Iran's UAV program.
The candidate countries - North Macedonia, Montenegro, Albania, Ukraine, Republic of Moldova, and Bosnia and Herzegovina - along with EFTA members Iceland and Liechtenstein, have aligned themselves with this Council decision. This alignment signifies their commitment to adapting their national policies to reflect the provisions outlined in the decision.
The European Union commended these countries for their commitment and welcomes their alignment with the sanctions.
This alignment comes in the wake of a contentious international debate sparked by the delivery of Iranian-manufactured drones to Russia. This issue gained significant attention following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. While Iran initially refuted allegations of supplying Shahed suicide drones to Russia, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian later admitted to the transfers in November 2022. He asserted that the deliveries occurred before the Ukrainian conflict commenced, and on a limited scale.
However, Ukrainian authorities strongly contested Iran's account, presenting substantial physical evidence suggesting ongoing and substantial drone deliveries from Iran.
In response to these allegations, the European Union, along with the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada, implemented punitive measures against Iran.