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EU extends sanctions against Iran over human rights

Asset freezes and travel bans against 82 Iranian officials to be kept in place until 2017

Balal Abdullah, who killed Iranian youth Abdolah Hosseinzadeh in a street fight with a knife in 2007, is rescued from the gallows by the mother of his victim during his execution ceremony in the northern city of Nowshahr on April 15, 2014 (photo credit: AFP/Arash Khamooshi/ISNA)
Balal Abdullah, who killed Iranian youth Abdolah Hosseinzadeh in a street fight with a knife in 2007, is rescued from the gallows by the mother of his victim during his execution ceremony in the northern city of Nowshahr on April 15, 2014 (photo credit: AFP/Arash Khamooshi/ISNA)

BRUSSELS — The European Union said Monday it had extended sanctions against 82 Iranian officials until 2017 because of the human rights situation in the nation.

The 28-nation bloc has had asset freezes and travel bans in place against Iranians since 2011 because of perceived violations of human rights.

The measures came despite a recent improvement of relations linked to a nuclear deal between Western powers and Tehran.

In 2015, executions in the country were at “the highest rate in over two decades,” the UN’s top expert on the human rights in Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, told the Human Rights Council last month.

In 2014, 753 people were executed in Iran.

Shaheed added that “at least 73 juvenile offenders were reportedly executed between 2005 and 2015,” 16 of them in the past two years alone.

Tehran dismissed the UN report as “biased, discriminatory, and prepared with political motives.”

“Through exploiting international human rights mechanisms,” the report “reduces human rights to a political dispute,” foreign ministry spokesman Hossein Jaber Ansari said in a statement.

In a report published in January, global rights watchdog Amnesty International slammed Iran as the world’s most prolific executioner of offenders convicted of committing crimes as juveniles.

AFP contributed to this report.

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