Tehran said Monday that EU sanctions over its human rights record were due to “differing values.” Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi said that “we have certain differences of opinion with European countries and the European Union.” He emphasized differences “notably as concerns human rights.” On Thursday, the EU extended by a year sanctions against 82 individuals and an entity accused of “serious human rights violations in Iran.” According to Ghasemi, long-running dialogue with the EU should continue, focusing on areas of agreement and in “a constructive atmosphere of good will.”
European Union failed to agree new sanctions against Iran on Monday amid fears that punishing Tehran for its missile program and regional role would not stop US President Donald Trump from abandoning a separate nuclear deal. The ministers hoped holding Iran accountable for this could help convince Trump not to walk away from the nuclear agreement. However, they ran into opposition from Italy, backed by Austria. After EU foreign ministers’ discussions in Luxembourg, some diplomats said the outcome meant the EU might not make Trump’s May 12 deadline to “fix” the 2015 nuclear accord, Reuters reported. The EU is eager to safeguard the pact.