Swiss adopt latest EU drone sanctions over Ukraine war

Russia is believe to have used Iranian-built drones in attacks in Ukraine. The photo, released by Ukraine's military, shows the wreckage of what Ukraine has described as a Shahed drone. Keystone / Ukrainian Military's Strategic C

Switzerland has adopted European Union sanctions against an Iranian firm and three top army members for supporting the Russian war against Ukraine. 

This content was published on November 2, 2022 minutes

The measures, against the company Shahed Aviation Industries and three senior military officers, were due to come into force on Tuesday following a decision by the economics ministry, according to a statement by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).

Shahed Aviation Industries is a company affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' aerospace forces that is responsible for the design and development of the Shahed series of Iranian drones, according to SECO. These have been supplied to Russia and are being used in the war against Ukraine, it says.

Tehran has repeatedly denied the accusation.

No human rights sanctions

On Wednesday, the government confirmed the sanctions related to the drones while saying that it would not be following EU sanctions on Iran in connection with the protests following the death of Mahsa Amini. Switzerland has “clearly condemned the use of force by Iranian security forces” and “repeatedly called on Iran to comply with its human rights obligations”, a government statementExternal link said. However, the diplomatic approach – in particularly Swiss good offices and the various protecting power mandates carried out on behalf of Iran – was given priority.

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Entry bans and assets frozen

The people targeted by the sanctions are the chief of staff of the Iranian armed forces, Major General Mohammad Hossein Bagheri, as well as General Sayed Hojatollah Qureishi and Brigadier General Saeed Aghajani.

They are subject to entry bans. In addition, no more business may be done with them, and any assets they may have in Switzerland will be frozen.

But critics say the sanctions are largely symbolic.

Russia had recently attacked Ukraine several times with GPS-guided Iranian-made Shahed 136 combat drones. Experts say the drones can fly up to 1,500 miles from trucks launched outside Ukraine and are believed to have been deployed across the country since August.

Switzerland is not a member of the EU but it agreed to take over in principle sanctions by the 27-nation bloc following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

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