AFP: The US government suggested on Tuesday that Europe match Washington sanctions for Iranian human rights violators, including asset freezes on key figures, against a backdrop of failed nuclear talks.
BRUSSELS (AFP) — The US government suggested on Tuesday that Europe match Washington sanctions for Iranian human rights violators, including asset freezes on key figures, against a backdrop of failed nuclear talks.
“We share a common assessment of the deterioration in the situation of human rights in Iran,” said US deputy assistant secretary of state Philo Dibble, a day after New York-based NGO Human Rights Watch slammed Tehran’s use of torture and intimidation to consolidate power in an annual report.
“We have suggested that the Europeans consider something like the designation that we have done,” he said, referring to visa bans and asset freezes applied to eight figures in September 2009.
Dibble said that the effect of European Union sanctions for human rights breaches would have a greater effect, because “Iranian officials are more likely to travel to Europe than they are to the US.”
The eight targeted by Washington notably include Mohammad Ali Jafari, the head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard who was held responsible for the death of three opposition figures in jail in July 2009.
The call comes as diplomats and analysts query whether fresh sanctions should be applied by the West over Iran’s disputed nuclear drive, after the latest talks between world powers collapsed in Istanbul at the weekend.
Dibble said the United States had passed information to the EU and that the “reception has been positive.”
He added: “We agree that the international community can and ought to make a difference in what it says with respect to how Iran treats its opposition.”
Last week, nuclear talks in Istanbul between Iran and the so-called P5+1 — UN Security Council permanent members Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, plus Germany failed to yield results .
The dialogue was aimed at ascertaining whether Iran’s contentious nuclear drive masks a weapons drive as suspected by the West, but staunchly denied by the Islamic republic.