TEHRAN – Iran on Monday urged European countries to refrain from taking any actions against the country, warning that Tehran would respond in kind to any interference in its domestic affairs.
The warning by Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani during a weekly news briefing came as EU foreign ministers prepared to meet in Luxembourg to discuss Iran’s reaction to the recent riots across the country.
“We invite the Europeans to be rational… They must know that they are talking about Iran, a powerful and responsible country… and a country that if it sees a logical and rational behavior, it can be the most important partner for restoring peace and stability to the region,” he said.
He warned that Tehran would take “a reciprocal and proportional action” if the Europeans choose to interfere in its internal affairs.
The EU ministers were set to impose travel bans and freeze the assets of some 15 Iranians which they accused of being involved in confronting riots triggered by the death in police custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock told reporters as she arrived at the meeting in Luxembourg.
Additional EU sanctions on Iran would not be limited to blacklisting some individuals should Tehran’s alleged involvement in the Ukraine war be proven, Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn said.
“Then it will be no longer about some individuals to be sanctioned,” he told reporters as he arrived for the EU meeting.
Kanaani stated that Iran “has not provided weaponry to any of the parties”. He said claims to the contrary have political motives, reiterating Iran’s support for a political solution to the conflict.
“We will look for concrete evidence about the participation (of Iran in the Ukraine war),” Josep Borrell told reporters as he arrived for the meeting.
Kanaani also touched upon talks on reviving the 2015 nuclear deal, saying they have not been removed from the agenda of the Islamic Republic.
“There are grounds for the revival of the agreement,” he said, making clear that reaching a pact hinges on the political will of the U.S.
Borrell said he currently did not expect progress in negotiations over reviving the deal.
“I don’t expect any move, that’s a pity because we were very, very close,” he said, noting that the talks had been stalled for the last weeks.
The talks kicked off in Vienna in April last year. Washington has recently used the unrest in Iran as a pretext to further delay the discussions, with U.S. State Department Ned Price saying that they were “not our focus right now”.
Kanaani hit out at the U.S. for also hindering the implementation of a prisoner swap deal and tying the issue with the revival of the nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA.
“Iran has stressed that the issue of prisoners is a political issue and has nothing to do with the JCPOA. We hope, with the right decision of America, we would see the release of prisoners, especially Iranian prisoners.”