Germany slams Iran executions as blatant attempt to intimidate protesters

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock says demonstrators committing no crime, just want to live in freedom; EU eyes ‘tough package of sanctions’ after latest death penalties

Germany's Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock arrives for the first day of the meeting of NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs in Bucharest, Romania, November 29, 2022. (Andreea Alexandru/AP)
Germany's Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock arrives for the first day of the meeting of NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs in Bucharest, Romania, November 29, 2022. (Andreea Alexandru/AP)

BRUSSELS, Belgium — German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said Monday that executions carried out by Iran were an attempt to scare protesters, after Tehran publicly hanged a second detainee.

“These executions are a blatant attempt to intimidate people, not for committing crimes but just for taking their opinions to the streets, just for wanting to live in freedom,” Baerbock said, just ahead of a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels.

The ministers were expected to impose fresh sanctions on Iran over the crackdown on the protesters and its supply of drones to Russia used in the war on Ukraine.

“With this package of sanctions, we have particularly targeted those who are responsible for these executions, who are responsible for this violence against innocent people,” Baerbock said.

“These are in particular the Revolutionary Guards, but these are also those who are trying to intimidate or further punish people with forcibly made videos.”

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the bloc was going to “approve a very, very tough package of sanctions” on Tehran.

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell speaks with the media as he arrives for a meeting of EU foreign ministers at the European Council building in Brussels, December 12, 2022. (Virginia Mayo/AP)

He said the EU “will take any action we can in order to support young women, to support peaceful demonstrators and certainly rejection of the death penalty.”

Borrel also said he had spoken to Iran’s foreign minister regarding Tehran’s response to the protests and the latest execution and that it was “not an easy conversation.”

European diplomats said last week that the new sanctions would see 20 individuals and one organization added to the bloc’s asset freeze and visa ban blacklist over the repression.

A picture obtained from the Iranian Mizan News Agency on December 12, 2022, shows the public execution of Majid Reza Rahnavard in Iran’s Mashhad city. (MIZAN NEWS / AFP)

The new measures will also target around nine individuals and organizations involved in the manufacture and delivery of drones to Moscow, the diplomats said.

The EU has already blacklisted more than 40 names over the crackdown on protests, including Iran’s “morality” police, interior minister, and state broadcaster Press TV.

It has also targeted eight officials and organizations, including the head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps and two drone makers, over the arms supplies to Russia.

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