Belgium Calls for New EU Sanctions on Iran, Balanced Approach in West Bank

Belgium calls for new EU sanctions on Iran, including IRGC, amid escalating tensions with Israel. EU explores legal basis to list IRGC as terror group while maintaining balanced approach on West Bank violence.

Hadeel Hashem
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Belgium Calls for New EU Sanctions on Iran, Balanced Approach in West Bank

Belgium Calls for New EU Sanctions on Iran, Balanced Approach in West Bank

Belgium's Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib has called for new EU sanctions against Iran, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), in response to Tehran's recent attack on Israel. Lahbib stated that there is currently no consensus on the legal basis for adding the IRGC to the EU's list of terrorist organizations, but said the issue will be discussed among EU ministers.

The calls for new sanctions come amid surging tensions in the Middle East, with Iran and Israel recently exchanging drone and missile strikes. Iran launched an unprecedented attack on Israel on April 13, raising concerns of an all-out regional war. The EU wants to send a strong signal of support to Israel while also broadening its sanctions against Iran and its proxies in the region, such as Hezbollah.

Several EU countries have requested the expansion of existing sanctions against Iran's drone and missile industry, but progress has been slow due to concerns about endangering talks over Iran's nuclear program. The EU has also maintained UN sanctions against Iran's ballistic missiles after they expired in October. Ministers are exploring ways to legally list the IRGC as a terror organization, which would be a symbolic act.

Why this matters: The escalating tensions between Iran and Israel threaten to destabilize the already volatile Middle East region. The EU's response, including potential new sanctions, could have significant implications for regional security and diplomatic efforts to address Iran's nuclear program.

In addition to the proposed sanctions against Iran, Lahbib suggested extending sanctions against violent settlers in the West Bank to maintain a balanced approach. "The EU needs to maintain a balanced approach and avoid accusations of double standards," Lahbib stated. Violence against Palestinians has increased in the West Bank, with settler attacks becoming more frequent. The Israeli government routinely acknowledges these illegal settlements as part of the Israeli state, despite international condemnation.

The comments from Belgium's Foreign Minister come ahead of an EU ministers' meeting in Luxembourg, where the strengthening of Ukraine's defenses and the expansion of sanctions on Iran are expected to be discussed. Lahbib emphasized the need for the EU to be balanced in its approach to the conflicts in the Middle East, addressing both Iran's actions and the violence perpetrated by Israeli settlers in the West Bank.

Key Takeaways

  • Belgium calls for new EU sanctions on Iran, including IRGC, over attack on Israel.
  • EU exploring ways to legally list IRGC as terror org, but no consensus on legal basis.
  • Escalating Iran-Israel tensions threaten Middle East stability, EU response could impact diplomacy.
  • Belgium suggests extending sanctions to violent Israeli settlers in West Bank for balanced approach.
  • EU ministers to discuss strengthening Ukraine's defenses and expanding Iran sanctions.