Sanctioned Iran general mockingly tells EU to ‘buy coal’ with his assets

Maj. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri, one of three military officials targeted for involvement with Shahed drone program, warns Europeans ‘a difficult winter is ahead’

Chief of Staff of Iran's Armed Forces General Mohammad Hossein Bagheri delivers a speech during a military parade marking the 36th anniversary of Iraq's 1980 invasion of Iran, in front of the shrine of late revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini, just outside Tehran, Iran, on September 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)
Chief of Staff of Iran's Armed Forces General Mohammad Hossein Bagheri delivers a speech during a military parade marking the 36th anniversary of Iraq's 1980 invasion of Iran, in front of the shrine of late revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini, just outside Tehran, Iran, on September 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

TEHRAN, Iran — A top Iranian general sanctioned by the European Union for allegedly supplying Russia with drones has mocked the bloc by telling it to “buy coal” for winter with his assets, media reported.

The chief of staff of the armed forces, Major General Mohammad Bagheri, was among three Iranian military officials put on recent EU and British sanctions lists.

Kyiv and its Western allies have accused Moscow of using Iranian-made drones in attacks on Ukraine in recent weeks. Tehran denies having provided Moscow weapons “to be used” in the war.

“They are allowed to identify and confiscate all the properties and assets of Major General Mohammad Hossein Bagheri in banks around the world and use them to buy coal for European citizens, a difficult winter is ahead,” Bagheri said in a message posted by local media, including Tasnim and Fars news agencies, late Sunday.

The sanctions are largely symbolic, as they include a ban on entry and the freezing of any assets held in the bloc.

The war in Ukraine has pushed energy prices skywards, with Russia withholding gas deliveries to most of Europe in reaction to Western sanctions.

FILE – A ship works offshore in the Baltic Sea on the natural gas pipeline Nord Stream 2 from Russia to Germany, on November 11, 2018. (Bernd Wuestneck/dpa via AP, File)

The EU’s 27 member states have been squabbling for months over measures to lower energy bills as winter nears.

Bagheri called the imposition of EU sanctions a “mistake” similar to those the United States made when it sanctioned him in 2019.

Last month, Kyiv decided to significantly reduce its diplomatic relations with Tehran over alleged arms deliveries to Moscow.

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