On November 14, the European Union and Britain imposed sanctions on dozens of senior Iranian government and security officials for the brutal crackdown on protests following the death of Mahsa Amini on September 16. Brussels named 29 officials, including Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi, provincial heads of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), and four members of the Morality Police squad that detained Amini for “inappropriate attire.” The 27-member bloc also named three entities, including a foundation affiliated with the Basij paramilitary, a state television station that aired forced confessions of detainees, and an IT company involved in censorship. “We stand with the Iranian people and support their right to protest peacefully and voice their demands and views freely,” E.U. foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said.
London designated 24 current and former officials, including Communications Minister Issa Zarepour as well as Law Enforcement Forces and IRGC commanders. “Together with our partners, we have sent a clear message to the Iranian regime – the violent crackdown on protests must stop and freedom of expression must be respected,” Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said. Britain held Zarepour and Vahid Mohammad Naser Majid, the chief of the Cyber Police, responsible for shutting down the internet and blocking access to Whatsapp and Instagram, popular social media platforms. Both Britain and the European Union sanctioned Majid.
The E.U. and British sanctions included travel bans and asset freezes. The E.U. measures also forbid European citizens and companies from transferring funds to the listed individuals and entities. The following are E.U. and British statements on the new sanctions.
Council of the European Union Statement
The Council today added 29 individuals and three entities to the list of those subject to restrictive measures in the context of the existing Iran human rights sanctions regime. This is in view of their role in the death of Mahsa Amini and the violent response to the recent demonstrations in Iran.
The EU strongly condemns the unacceptable violent crackdown of protesters. We stand with the Iranian people and support their right to protest peacefully and voice their demands and views freely. We are today imposing additional sanctions on those responsible for the suppression of the Iranian protestors.
Josep Borrell, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
Today’s designations include: the four members of the squad that arbitrarily arrested Mahsa Amini, provincial heads of the Iranian Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) and of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), as well as Brigadier General Kiyumars Heidari, the Commander of the Iranian Army’s Ground Forces, for their role in the brutal repression of the recent protests. In addition, the EU designates Iranian state television broadcaster Press TV responsible for producing and broadcasting the forced confessions of detainees. Moreover, the EU lists Vahid Mohammad Naser Majid, the head of the Iranian Cyber Police for his responsibility in arbitrarily arresting people for expressing online criticism of the Iranian regime. Lastly the EU also designated Iran’s Minister of Interior, Ahmad Vahidi, who is also in charge of the LEF, which have committed serious human rights violations.
The measures imposed today consist of a travel ban and an asset freeze. In addition, EU citizens and companies are forbidden from making funds available to the listed individuals and entities. The Iran human rights sanctions regime also includes a ban on exports to Iran of equipment which might be used for internal repression and of equipment for monitoring telecommunications.
The list of those subject to EU restrictive measures in the context of the existing Iran human rights sanctions regime now comprises a total of 126 individuals and 11 entities.
The European Union and its member states condemn the continued widespread and disproportionate use of force against peaceful protestors. This is unjustifiable and unacceptable. People in Iran, as anywhere else, have the right to peacefully protest and this right must be ensured in all circumstances.
The EU urges Iran to immediately stop the violent crackdown against peaceful protesters, to free those detained, and to ensure the free flow of information, including internet access. Furthermore, the EU urges Iran to clarify the number of deaths and arrested, to hold those responsible accountable and provide due process to all detainees. The killing of Mahsa Amini must be also investigated in an independent and transparent manner and any proved responsible for her death must be held accountable.
British Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office Statement
The UK and international partners have announced coordinated sanctions on Iranian officials who are leading the violent repression of protests in Iran.
Protests continue across Iran following the tragic death of 22 year old Mahsa Amini, in the custody of Iran’s so-called Morality Police, who were sanctioned by the UK on 10 October. The Iranian authorities have responded to the protests with violence, reportedly killing hundreds and injuring thousands of others.
The Foreign Secretary has announced the UK will designate Communications Minister Issa Zarepour and a range of local law enforcement and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) officials who have been involved in and ordered the crackdown on protests.
Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said:
These sanctions target officials within the Iranian regime who are responsible for heinous human rights violations.
Together with our partners, we have sent a clear message to the Iranian regime – the violent crackdown on protests must stop and freedom of expression must be respected.
The Iranian people could not be clearer. It’s time for the regime to stop blaming external actors and start listening to the voices of their people.
Zarepour and Vahid Mohammad Naser Majid (chief of Iran’s Cyber Police) have been designated for shutting down the internet in Iran, including disabling Whatsapp and Instagram, and banning the use of the Google Play app and virtual private networks (VPNs).
Their actions are part of a wider clampdown on freedom of expression in Iran which has included the arrest and detention of more than 40 journalists and Iranian girls being sent to ‘psychological centres’ for protesting for their right to choose what to wear, according to regime officials.
Twenty two other Iranian political and security officials are designated today in response to the continued brutal violence aimed at protestors, in provinces including:
Sistan and Baluchestan: on 30 September, over 80 people were reportedly killed in the city of Zahedan. Today the UK has sanctioned:
- Ahmad Taheri (former chief of the Law Enforcement Force in Sistan and Baluchestan)
- Mahmoud Saadati (former chief of the Law Enforcement Force in Zahedan)
- Hossein Maroufi (deputy co-ordinator of mobilization of the IRGC in Sistan and Baluchestan)
- Ahmad Shafahi (commander of the IRGC Salman Corps in Sistan and Baluchestan)
- Hossein Modarres Khiabani (governor of Sistan and Baluchestan)
Kurdistan: protests have been brutally cracked down across the province, including in the cities of Sanandaj and Mahsa Amini’s hometown of Saqqez. Today the UK has sanctioned:
- Ali Azadi (chief of the Law Enforcement Force in Kurdistan)
- Ali Reza Moradi (chief of the Law Enforcement Force in Sanandaj)
- Ali Sayd Safari (chief of the Law Enforcement Force in Saqqez)
- Abbas Abdi (chief of the Law Enforcement Force in Divandarreh)
- Sereng Hossein Rajabpour (Basij commander in Bijar)
- Morteza Mir Aghaei (Basij commander in Sanandaj)
- Esmaeil Zarei Kousha (governor of Kurdistan)
- Sardar Seyed Sadegh Hosseini (senior commander of the IRGC in Kurdistan)
Tehran: at Sharif University in Tehran, Iranian security services used live rounds and tear gas against students, barricading them inside the university building. Today the UK has sanctioned:
- Hossein Rahimi (chief of the Law Enforcement Force in Tehran)
- Hasan Hassanzadeh (senior commander of the IRGC in Tehran)
These sanctions will ensure that the individuals on the list cannot travel to the UK and any of their assets held in the UK will be frozen.
The UK has already designated a number of high-ranking security and political figures, as well as the Morality Police, for their roles in protests in Iran.
The Foreign Secretary also summoned the Iranian Chargé d’Affaires last week to make clear that the UK does not tolerate threats from foreign nations against individuals here.
Full list of those designated
- Issa Zarepour, Minister of Information and Communications Technology
- Ahmad Taheri, former chief of the Law Enforcement Force in Sistan and Baluchestan province
- Mahmoud Saadati, former chief of the Law Enforcement Force in Zahedan (Sistan and Baluchestan province)
- Manouchehr Amanollahi, chief of the Law Enforcement Force in Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari province
- Hossein Rahimi, chief of the Law Enforcement Force in Tehran
- Ali Azadi, chief of the Law Enforcement Force in Kurdistan province
- Abbas Abdi, chief of the Law Enforcement Force in Divandarreh (Kurdistan province)
- Sayd Ali Safari, chief of the Law Enforcement Force in Saqqez (Kurdistan province)
- Ali-Reza Moradi, chief of the Law Enforcement Force in Sanandaj (Kurdistan province)
- Morteza Mirzai, chief of the Law Enforcement Force in Mazandaran province
- Rahim Jahanbakhsh, chief of the Law Enforcement Force in West Azerbaijan province
- Hassan Sheikhnejad, chief of the Law Enforcement Force in Urmia (West Azerbaijan province)
- Azizollah Maleki, chief of the Law Enforcement Force in Gilan province
- Abbas Ali Mohammadian, chief of the Law Enforcement Force in Alborz province
- Hossein Maroufi, deputy co-ordinator of mobilization of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in Sistan and Baluchestan province
- Ahmad Shafahi, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Salman Corps in Sistan and Baluchistan province
- Sardar Seyed Sadegh Hosseini, senior commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in Kurdistan province
- Hossein Rajabpour, Basij commander in Bijar (Kurdistan province)
- Morteza Aghaei, Basij commander in Sanandaj (Kurdistan province)
- Sardar Gholamhossein Mohammadi Asl, senior commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) in Ardabil province
- Hasan Hassanzadeh, senior commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in Tehran
- Hossein Modarres Khiabani, Governor of Sistan and Baluchestan province
- Esmaeil Zarei Kousha, Governor of Kurdistan province
- Vahid Mohammad Naser Majid, head of the Cyber Police
Robins7, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons