By John Irish
PARIS, Oct 14 (Reuters) – European foreign ministers will on Monday discuss the transfer of Iranian drones to Russia and could come to a political agreement on future sanctions related to such activity, two diplomats said on Friday.
Ukraine has reported a spate of Russian attacks using Iranian-made Shahed-136 drones in recent weeks. Iran denies supplying the drones to Russia, while the Kremlin has not commented.
Three drones operated by Russian forces attacked the small town of Makariv, west of Ukraine’s capital, early on Thursday, with officials saying that critical infrastructure facilities were struck by what they said were Iranian-made “suicide drones”.
According to the diplomats citing preparatory meetings ahead of Monday’s ministerial meeting in Luxembourg, an analysis of the drone activity has been carried out with the topic now on the agenda.
The diplomats said although an agreement on new listings was not possible on Monday, there could be a political agreement that would pave the way for sanctions at a later stage.
The bloc is already set to impose on Monday travel bans and asset freezes on some 15 Iranians involved in the crackdown that began last month on demonstrations that followed the death in police custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini.
France and Germany, both parties to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, have made it clear they believed new sanctions in connection to the drones used by Russia were also necessary and that the drone transfers should be seen as a violation of resolution United Nations Security Council 2231.
Resolution 2231 endorsed the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six powers – Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States – that limited Tehran’s uranium enrichment activity, making it harder for Iran to develop nuclear arms while lifting international sanctions.
An EU spokesperson said foreign ministers would discuss Iran on Monday but declined to comment on whether Iranian drones or sanctions on drone transfers would be on the agenda.
(Additional reporting by John Chalmers in Brussels; Editing by Hugh Lawson)