Expatica news

Germany condemns Iran sanctions on European media

Germany on Wednesday condemned Iran for sanctioning European media and vowed to tighten its relations with the Islamic republic over Tehran’s brutal crackdown on women’s rights protesters.

Iran’s foreign ministry had earlier announced a blacklist of media outlets, including the Persian versions of German broadcaster Deutsche Welle and Radio France Internationale, in retaliation for EU sanctions.

“We strongly condemn the Iranian sanctions against German media,” the German foreign ministry wrote on Twitter.

“Sanctioning independent media shows once again how #Iran suppresses internationally recognised rights to press freedom and freedom of expression,” the ministry said.

In a separate statement, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said Germany would tighten its rules for entry to Iran, going beyond EU sanctions.

In future, national visas for Iran will be issued only to holders of service and diplomatic passports and “only to the extent necessary”, Baerbock said.

“There can be no ‘business as usual’ in bilateral relations with a state that treats its own citizens with such contempt,” she said.

Additional national entry restrictions will be imposed on members of Iranian organisations hit by EU sanctions and economic contacts will also be further restricted, Baerbock added.

Protests have erupted across Iran in response to the death of a young Kurdish woman, Mahsa Amini, after her arrest by the country’s notorious morality police for allegedly breaching the Islamic dress code for women.

Dozens of people have been killed and hundreds more arrested in the unrest, including women.

The situation in Iran is becoming increasingly dangerous for German nationals, according to Berlin.

A Foreign Ministry spokeswoman on Wednesday said that around half a dozen German citizens were being held in Iran, though she did not confirm whether the detentions were linked to the ongoing unrest.

Germans held in Iran often have dual citizenship, which is not recognised by Tehran and “this means that the Iranians do not treat these people as German citizens but as purely Iranian citizens”, the spokeswoman said.

This, “among other things, makes consular assistance more difficult”, she added.