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EU Sanctions Iranian Army for Helping Syria

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The European Union imposed sanctions against the elite unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard on Wednesday, The Associated Press reported.
This time, however, the sanctions did not revolve around the Iranian nuclear program. According to the AP report, the EU said that Iran’s Quds Force is providing equipment and other support to help Syrian President Bashar Assad crush the uprising against him.
Iran has been accused of aiding Assad in his crackdown on protesters, and as such the sanctions against its elite unit were meant to broaden the international pressure against Syria by directly targeting its key ally.
The EU’s official journal, which published the statement on the sanctions, said the Quds Force “has provided technical assistance, equipment and support to the Syrian security services to repress civilian protest movements.”
The sanctions include several Syrian generals and close associates of Assad’s younger brother, Maher, who is believed to be in command of much of the crackdown. Hassan Turkmani, a former defense minister and special envoy for Bashar Assad, was also named, AP said.
The EU blacklist on Syria now contains 50 people and nine entities who face asset freezes and travel bans.
On Tuesday, several European nations and the United States circulated a draft UN Security Council resolution which seeks an arms embargo and other sanctions aimed at stopping the ongoing crackdown.
The draft resolution calls for an asset freeze against 23 key Syrian figures including Assad, his younger brother, and his millionaire cousin, Rami Makhlouf, who controls the mobile phone network and other lucrative enterprises in Syria.
The resolution also calls for an asset freeze against two companies controlled by Makhlouf and would also impose a travel ban on 21 individuals including Makhlouf, but not Assad or his younger brother.
Human rights groups have said Assad’s forces have killed more than 2,000 people since the uprising erupted in mid-March.
French Foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero called for stronger sanctions against Syria on Wednesday and was quoted by AP as having said that “France is determined more than ever to do everything to stop Syrian blood from being spilled.”
But as more sanctions were placed on Assad and his allies, the crackdown continued. Tanks stormed the city of Deir el-Zour and made sweeping arrests there on Wednesday, local activists told AP.

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