France’s Fabius says EU to discuss if new Iran sanctions needed


The European Union will discuss this week whether it needs to impose new sanctions on Iran following recent ballistic missile tests, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Monday, a day after the United States announced such measures.

Washington imposed sanctions on 11 companies and individuals on Sunday for supplying Iran’s ballistic missile programme, in a move delayed by over two weeks so as not to endanger this weekend’s release of US prisoners.

“We have to compare the American system and European system and to see if there are new sanctions to take or not, and this exercise will be implemented this week,” Fabius told reporters during a visit to Abu Dhabi.

Iran tested a new medium-range ballistic missile on Nov. 21 in a breach of two UN Security Council resolutions, two US officials said on Monday, the second since October.

The US measures come after the lifting of international sanctions over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear programme. During talks leading up to the deal which ended those sanctions, France was deemed to hold the toughest stance against Iran.

Fabius, who said he would visit Riyadh on Tuesday to meet King Salman and other officials, also added France would like to de-escalate tensions between regional rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran.

“Our view as France is to try to de-escalate pressure,” he said, adding France would also discuss different issues with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani who is due to visit Paris next week.