The European Union is set to agree to sanction several Iranian individuals on Wednesday for human rights abuses, the first such measures since 2013, three EU diplomats said, Reuters reported.
EU envoys are expected to agree to impose travel bans and asset freezes on the individuals, the diplomats said, and their names would be published next week, when the sanctions take effect. They gave no further details.
The European Union declined to comment.
Like the United States, the European Union has an array of sanctions over human rights since 2011 on more than 80 Iranian individuals which has been renewed annually every April. Those will also be renewed on Wednesday, the three diplomats said.
READ: Iran condemns ‘severe suppression’ of UK protests by police
Asked why the latest measures were being taken now, one of the diplomats said the EU was seeking to take a tougher stance to uphold human rights. This month, the EU sanctioned 11 people from countries including China, North Korea, Libya and Russia.
“Those responsible for serious rights violations must know there are consequences,” an EU diplomat said.
The United Nations has regularly complained that Iran arrests political opponents in a clampdown on freedom of expression. On March 9, UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, Javaid Rehman, presented a report documenting Iran’s high death penalty rate, executions of juveniles, the use torture to coerce confessions and the lawful marriage of girls as young as 10 years old.
Iran has repeatedly rejected accusations by the West of human rights abuses. Iranian officials were not immediately available for comment.