IRAN (OBSERVATORY) – Iran said on Monday that the European Union’s sanctions against the human rights record stemmed from “different values,” but stressed that this should not cause a suspension of dialogue with Europe.
“We have some differences of opinion with European countries and with the European Union,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasimi told a news conference.
“This is due in part to the differences in values between our region, the Islamic Republic of Iran (on the one hand) and the European Union (on the other), especially with regard to human rights,” he said.
The European Union decided on Thursday to extend the year to sanctions on 82 people and one entity accused of “serious human rights violations in Iran.”
The long-standing dialogue with the European Union must continue and focus on commonalities “within a constructive atmosphere of goodwill,” he said.
“In the coming months, several delegations will come to discuss various issues, not just human rights,” he said.
“I hope this will happen in a more positive atmosphere.”
European sanctions, imposed mainly in the wake of a crackdown on protests in Iran in 2009, are preventing the sale of equipment to Iran “that could be used for domestic repression and communications control equipment.”
The sanctions are separate from the severe economic and individual sanctions imposed on Iran over its disputed nuclear activities, but were lifted in January 2016, six months after an agreement was reached between Tehran and major powers over the nuclear program.
Britain, France and Germany, the three European Union signatories, are trying to prevent US President Donald Trump from threatening to withdraw from him and to re-impose sanctions linked to the nuclear program by May 12.