The EU slapped new sanctions on a number of individuals and organizations in both Syria and Iran on Monday, targeting what it says are the Syrian government’s drug-trafficking and the Islamic Republic’s human rights abuses.

In Syria particularly, sanctions were placed on Wassim al-Assad and Samer al-Assad – two relatives of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad – for their alleged role in the trade of Captagon amphetamine pills, known predominantly as ‘the ISIS drug.’

According to the EU, Assad’s government has become a “central player” in the production and sale of Captagon globally, destabilizing the region and simultaneously “enriching itself.”

The government in Damascus has categorically denied the allegations. In 2021, the Saudi Leaks organization – a group dedicated to exposing “the crimes of the House of Saud” – released a report detailing the role of a number of Saudi princes in the trafficking of the infamous narcotic.

The EU imposed sanctions on Mudar al-Assad, the president’s cousin, without explaining why. They targeted Assad’s brother, Maher, who leads the Syrian army’s Fourth Division, for ‘human rights violations.’ A Russian engineering firm was also hit with sanctions.

In Iran, the EU targeted eight Iranian individuals and a telecommunication firm ArianTel, which it said “contributed to the telecommunications surveillance architecture mapped out by the Iranian government to quash dissent and critical voices in Iran.”

Iranian MPs and members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), as well as the IRGC Cooperative Foundation – which manages IRGC funds – were hit with EU sanctions.

“The EU calls on Iran to end the practice of imposing and carrying out death sentences against protesters, reverse the death penalty sentences pronounced, as well as provide due process to all detainees,” the EU statement read.

This is despite the fact that Tehran has released or reduced the sentences of tens of thousands of Iranians involved in anti-government protests, with the exception of those who have killed or attacked members of the security forces.

This latest round of politically motivated economic measures against Tehran and Damascus comes at a time when western sanctions are becoming more and more obsolete.

Syria has followed Iran in working to fully resume ties with Saudi Arabia – which is openly ‘divorcing’ the west in favor of growing ties with Russia and China.

Projects and groups such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the BRICS+ group, and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) have been witnessing growing involvement from several other regional countries, including Iraq, Morocco, the UAE, and Algeria.

Ankara has also been boosting ties with Washington’s adversaries, and is working on the ‘Development Road Project’ with Baghdad – aimed at linking the Iraqi Grand Port of Faw to Europe via Turkiye and potentially transforming Iraq into a major economic hub.

The war in Ukraine has also helped to propel this global shift in favor of West Asia, as European sanctions on Russian gas have heavily backfired on the EU – creating a severe energy crisis.

As a new regional economy – one independent from western hegemony – continues to form gradually, sanctions are becoming easier to circumvent.

Source » thecradle