Austrian Foreign Minister Criticises Iran at the Foreign Affairs Council

PeoplePoliticians ♦ Published: October 18, 2022; 16:45 ♦ (Vindobona)

At the Foreign Affairs Council in Luxembourg, the Austrian Foreign Minister criticised Iran's behaviour, which has always been "part of the circumvention constructions" surrounding the EU sanctions against Russia. Other topics discussed at the Council were the ongoing missile attacks in Ukraine and the EU enlargement around Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Austria's Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenvberg at the Foreign Affairs Council in Luxembourg. / Picture: © BMEIA Bundesministerium für Europa, Integration und Äußeres / Gruber / Flickr Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

At the Foreign Affairs Council in Luxembourg recently, everything revolved around the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine, the latest developments in Iran and the state of EU enlargement around Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg was also present.

Upon his arrival in Luxembourg, Foreign Minister Schallenberg emphasised the need for the EU to continue to show unity and determination in the face of Russian aggression. An important sign of this, he said, was the additional support measures planned for Ukraine.

"Since the start of the Russian war of aggression in February 2022, we have acted in a united and determined manner. But ahead of us now lie the travails of the plain. Therefore, we must continue to maintain our cohesion and strategic patience in the weeks and months ahead. These qualities are our greatest asset," said Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg.

Furthermore, the Foreign Minister condemned the continued Russian attacks against Ukrainian cities and civilian facilities. Russia is continuously treading the path of escalation, which makes a diplomatic solution impossible at the moment. Another sign of Russia's continued escalation course was the alleged use of Iranian kamikaze drones in Ukraine, which Schallenberg strongly criticised.

"Iran has already in the past not joined the European Union's sanctions regime against Russia, but has always been part of the circumvention constructions. This is also the case now.  One is not participating in the sanctions regime, the other is actively supporting the war of aggression on the Russian side with material, that has a different quality," said Foreign Minister Schallenberg, who was dismayed by the corresponding media reports.

However, it was also important to the Foreign Minister to emphasise that the war of aggression could ultimately only be ended at the negotiating table. The time and circumstances for this would have to be determined by the Ukrainian President and the Ukrainian people.

Also in connection with the violent suppression of protests in Iran, the Austrian Foreign Minister reiterated that the imposition of sanctions against those responsible on the part of the EU was a consistent reaction to the incidents. He also called for a transparent explanation of the circumstances surrounding the death of Mahsa Amini and reaffirmed the right of Iranian civilians to freedom of expression and assembly. The motto "women's rights are human rights" applies worldwide and therefore also in Iran.

Furthermore, Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg welcomed the clear recommendation of the European Commission to grant Bosnia and Herzegovina EU candidate status. This step was long overdue.

The EU must pay more attention than ever to binding the Western Balkans more closely to itself in order not to leave the field to others. The enlargement process is the strongest geopolitical instrument available to the EU.

BMEIA Federal Ministry for Europe Integration and Foreign Affairs