EU extends Iran human rights sanctions as US nuke deal deadline nears
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EU extends Iran human rights sanctions as US nuke deal deadline nears

Amid efforts to keep Washington from leaving accord, European Council signs on for another year of measures imposed due to regime’s repression of Iranian people

The General Secretary of the European Council, Thorbjoern Jagland (3rdL) and Denmark's Minister of Justice Soeren Pape Poulsen (4thL) attend the opening session of the European Councils conference on the reform of the European Human Rights System on April 12, 2018 in Copenhagen.   (AFP PHOTO / Ritzau Scanpix / Bax Lindhardt)
The General Secretary of the European Council, Thorbjoern Jagland (3rdL) and Denmark's Minister of Justice Soeren Pape Poulsen (4thL) attend the opening session of the European Councils conference on the reform of the European Human Rights System on April 12, 2018 in Copenhagen. (AFP PHOTO / Ritzau Scanpix / Bax Lindhardt)

BRUSSELS — The European Union on Thursday extended sanctions against Iran over its human rights record for another year, as Europe battles to stop the United States ditching a landmark nuclear accord with Tehran.

The sanctions, first imposed in 2011, include an asset freeze against 82 individuals and one entity, plus a ban on exports to Iran of equipment “which might be used for internal repression and of equipment for monitoring telecommunications.”

The European Council of member states said it decided to extend the sanctions — which are not related to the 2015 deal to curb the Islamic Republic’s nuclear ambitions — in response “to serious human rights violations in Iran.”

The measures were first put in place following a crackdown during the 2009 election and subsequent protests sparked by the Arab Spring which inspired hopes of reform in Iran.

Britain, France and Germany — the three European countries that signed the Iran nuclear deal — are working to head off US President Donald Trump’s threat to walk away from the accord and reimpose stinging economic sanctions by May 12.

Trump has repeatedly condemned the deal and demanded tough new restrictions on Iran over its ballistic missile program and its role in conflicts around the Middle East.

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