(Bloomberg) -- The European Union aims to propose fresh sanctions on Iran over its strike on Israel as early as next week when the bloc’s top diplomats meet to discuss the limited options they have for constraining both nations’ activity. 

The EU is exploring how to expand sanctions it’s already imposed on Iran for supplying Russia with unmanned aerial vehicles being used against Ukraine to include missiles and drones that Tehran has provided its proxies in the Middle East, according to diplomats familiar with the matter. 

Several member states have also urged including components used in the weapons, said the diplomats, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The bloc has been struggling to wield influence over the conflict in the Middle East, while even the US has been unable to enforce its calls for restraint by Israel, a close ally.

While the topic of sanctions may come up when EU leaders meet this week, the measures will be discussed in more detail by the bloc’s foreign ministers on Tuesday afternoon during a hastily convened video-conference. That will be followed by further technical work to draft the proposals ahead of a previously planned in-person meeting of the envoys next Monday.

The people cautioned that the timeline for the proposals could slip. Once proposed, the measures would need the backing of all member states and that process takes time. Additional measures under consideration could also include further listings of individuals and entities.

Read more: Iran’s Growing Conflict With Israel Puts US Ally Jordan on Edge

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock noted Tuesday that Iran is already very heavily sanctioned.

“Together with France and other European Union partners, in the late fall I pushed for these drone sanctions to be further expanded due to Iran and its proxies playing with fire in the Middle East,” she said at a news conference in Berlin after talks with her German counterpart. “I hope that we can finally now take this step together as the EU.”

Any impact of new measures is likely to be limited given the existing sanctions over Iran’s nuclear program, its crackdowns on protesters and its weapons aid to Russia — and because Europe isn’t currently contemplating restrictions on Iran’s energy sector. Largely shut off from US and European economies, Iran has also developed its missile program in cooperation with North Korea in recent years. 

EU restrictions to stop Moscow from getting its hands on banned components used in weapons or needed to build them have also had mixed results.

On Tuesday, the foreign ministers are also set to stress calls for restraint and further escalation by both Israel and Iran, though the message holds relatively little weight compared to the US, Israel’s main security guarantor.

The bloc has also recently clashed internally over how much pressure to exert on Israel over its strikes on Gaza in retaliation for Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, with countries like Austria reticent to admonish Israel. Meanwhile, Spain and Ireland have pressed for a stronger line on the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and explored plans to recognize Palestinian statehood.

While EU countries agree on the need for further diplomacy to prevent escalation in the region, member states are split on how to exert pressure on Israel to restrain itself with regard to Iran, according to a senior European diplomat. Disagreements center around whether to stress issues of Israeli settlers, Palestinian statehood or to threaten to revoke military aid to Israel, the diplomat said.  

Top Israeli military officials reasserted that their country has no choice but to respond to Iran’s weekend drone and missile attack, even as European and US officials boosted their calls for Israel to avoid a tit-for-tat escalation that could provoke a wider war.

The EU has added text related to the Middle East conflict to a set of conclusions the bloc’s leaders are due to sign off when they meet in Brussels from Wednesday for a previously planned gathering. In addition to urging “all parties to exercise utmost restraint,” according to a draft seen by Bloomberg, the conclusions stress the need to avoid escalation, especially in Lebanon, which officials fear could be the first victim of an increase in tension in the region. 

Wider escalation in the Middle East could not only spark a huge influx of migrants to the EU but also unleash major economic consequences. “A full-blown Iran-Israel war could send oil surging to $150 per barrel, plunging the world into recession, and causing inflation to skyrocket,” said Ziad Daoud, chief emerging-markets economist for Bloomberg Economics.

--With assistance from Iain Rogers.

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