European Union leaders agreed Wednesday to impose new sanctions on Iran’s drone and missile producers over Tehran’s unprecedented weekend attack on Israel, EU chief Charles Michel said.

“We have decided to put in place sanctions against Iran, it is a clear signal that we wanted to send,” the European Council president said at an EU summit in Brussels.

“The idea is to target the companies that are needed for the drones, for the missiles.”

Iran launched an unprecedented drone and missile onslaught over the weekend against Israel, which caused little damage after most of the projectiles were intercepted. Tehran’s first-ever direct assault on Israeli soil was in retaliation for an alleged Israeli attack on the Iranian consulate in Damascus that killed seven Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps members, including two generals.

Israel has signaled that it will respond but has not said how. EU leaders condemned the Iranian attack, reaffirmed their commitment to Israel’s security and called on all sides to prevent more tensions, including in Lebanon.

The EU leaders in their statement from the summit urged “all parties to exercise the utmost restraint and to refrain from any action that may increase tensions in the region.”

The decision to impose new sanctions came as EU leaders gathered for a two-day summit in Brussels, the first meeting of the EU’s 27 national leaders since Saturday’s attack, more than six months into the war between Israel and the Iran-backed Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas.

“We have to adjust, to expand [the sanctions] on Iran,” French President Emmanuel Macron said in Brussels ahead of the summit. “We are in favor of sanctions that can also target all those who help manufacture drones and missiles that were used in the attacks last Saturday and Sunday.”

Separately, Italy’s Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said ahead of G7 talks on the island of Capri that “sanctions should be imposed on all those who give drones, weapons, and missiles to those who attack Israel and those who attack ships in the Red Sea.”

The head of the EU’s executive commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said Iran’s attack showed a “new league of authoritarians” working to tear up international order and to stretch democracies to breaking point.

On Tuesday, the bloc’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, said the EU would prepare to tighten its sanctions against Iran. EU foreign ministers are due to continue the work next Monday.

Several EU states have proposed expanding a sanctions regime that seeks to curb the supply of Iranian drones to Russia for Moscow’s war in Ukraine to include the provision of missiles and cover deliveries to Iranian proxies in the Middle East.

Some EU states have also proposed sanctions against Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, but Borrell said the bloc’s rules meant that could only happen if a national authority in the EU found that the group had been involved in terrorist activity. The IRGC is considered a terrorist entity by the United States.

The United States and other Western governments hope new economic sanctions against Iran will help persuade Israel to limit the scope of its retaliation.

But analysts have said Iran is unlikely to face dramatic US sanctions because of worries about boosting oil prices and angering top buyer China.

Iran launched the attack on Saturday in response to an April 1 strike on its embassy compound in Damascus which it blamed on Israel.

Apart from the Middle East, the 27 European nations are also due to discuss the ongoing war in Ukraine as well as economic issues during two days of talks in Brussels, with a report prepared in advance warning the EU had a last chance to reboot the economy to be able to compete with the United States and China.

Source » timesofisrael