On January 23, the European Union sanctioned 18 Iranian government and security officials for the brutal crackdown on nationwide protests that erupted in September 2022. The group of 27 nations, including some of the world’s largest economies, also imposed sanctions on 19 government bodies and private organizations. The list included a cabinet minister, provincial governors, members of parliament, and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC) commanders.
The move reflected growing outrage over the Islamic Republic’s human rights record. “The European Union and its member states urge the Iranian authorities to stop the violent crackdown against peaceful protests, cease their resort to arbitrary detentions as a means of silencing critical voices, and release all those illegally detained,” it said in a statement. “The EU continues to call on Iran to cease immediately the imposition and execution of death sentences against protesters, reverse the death penalty sentences pronounced, and provide due process to all detainees.”
The E.U. designations were the fourth round of sanctions imposed since October 2022. The sanctions froze all assets of the named people and entities and banned all travel to the European Union. They also prohibited anyone from providing funds or resources to those sanctioned.
The European Union announced the move in coordination with the United States and Britain, which also imposed new sanctions on the same day. The three powers designated different parties, but their actions were all in response to Iran’s human rights violations. Tehran threatened to retaliate with new sanctions. “The move by the European Union and the UK regime shows their mental inability to correctly understand the realities of Iran and their confusion regarding the power of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” said Foreign Ministry Spokesman Nasser Kanaani. The following is a statement from the European Union.
The European Union named the following 18 men:
- Seyed Hamid Hazaveh, minister of sports and youth
- Seyyed Mohammed Saleh Hashemi Golpayegani, head of the Headquarters for Enjoining Right and Forbidding Evil (or the Headquarters for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice)
- Hassan Asgari, governor of Sanandaj, Kurdistan province and former IRGC commander
- Hossein Modarres Khiabani, former governor of Sistan and Baluchestan (Baluchistan) province (September 2021-December 2022)
- Esmaeil Zarei Kousha, governor of Kurdistan province
- Mohammad Esmail Kowsari, parliament and IRGC member
- Mostafa Mirsalim, parliament member
- Mohammad Taghi Naghdali, parliament and parliamentary legal commission member
- Mousa Ghazanfarabadi, parliament member and head of the parliamentary legal and judicial commission
- Ahmad Noroozi, head of the state-run Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting World Service and CEO of Press TV
- Youssef Pouranvari, director of the IRIB foreign language flagship channel Programs and Scheduling Department
- Ahmad Kadem, commander of the IRGC Karbala regional headquarters
- Mohammad Nazar Azimi, commander of the IRGC Najaf al Ashraf regional headquarters
- Abbas Mortaza Nilfrushan, IRGC deputy commander for operations
- Moslem Moein, senior Basij paramilitary official
- Mohammad Karami, commander of the IRGC Qods regional headquarters
- Ali Akbar Javidan, LEF commander in Kermanshah
- Abbas Azarpendar, CEO of Radis Vira Tejarat Company, which provides surveillance equipment to the government
The European Union also named the following 19 entities:
- Ravin Academy, a cybersecurity and cyber training firm that supported the IRGC and Ministry of Intelligence and Security
- Samane Gostar Sahab Pardaz Private Limited Company, a social media firm that censored and surveilled internet users for the government
- Imen Sanat Zaman Fara Company, a firm that made and acquired equipment for the security forces
- Radis Vira Tejarat Company, a firm that helped the government acquire surveillance equipment
- Communications Regulatory Authority, an arm of the Ministry for Information and Communications Technology that surveilled protesters and dissidents
- Headquarters for Enjoining Right and Forbidding Evil, a government body that enforced morality standards and societal norms
- Iranian Special Police Forces, an arm of the Law Enforcement Forces and Special Unit Forces used to repress demonstrations
- IRGC Regional Corps Shohada in West Azerbaijan province, a regional IRGC unit
- IRGC Regional Corps Hazrat Nabi Akram in Kermanshah, a regional IRGC unit
- IRGC Regional Corps Quds in Gilan, a regional IRGC unit
- IRGC Regional Corps Karbala in Mazandaran, a regional IRGC unit
- IRGC Regional Corps Seyyed al-Shohada in Tehran province, a regional IRGC unit
- IRGC Regional Corps Valiasr in Khuzestan, a regional IRGC unit
- IRGC Regional Corps Hazrat Abufazl in Lorestan, a regional IRGC unit
- IRGC Regional Corps Beit-al-Moqadas in Kurdistan, a regional IRGC unit
- IRGC Regional Corps Salaman in Sistan and Baluchestan (Baluchistan), a regional IRGC unit
- IRGC Operational Base Karbala, a regional IRGC headquarters
- IRGC Operational Base Quds, a regional IRGC headquarters
- IRGC Operational Base Najaf-e-Ashraf, a regional IRGC headquarters
Today, the Council decided to add 18 individuals and 19 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 widespread and disproportionate use of force against non-violent protestors following the death of Mahsa Amini.
Among the persons enlisted are representatives of the government and the Iranian parliament (Majles), important political and media figures, as well as high-ranking members of the Iranian security forces, including of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
Today’s designations also target governmental bodies and private companies providing security services and engaging in activities which prohibit, limit, or penalise the exercise of freedom of expression.
Restrictive measures now apply to a total of 164 individuals and 31 entities. They consist of an asset freeze, a travel ban to the EU, and a prohibition to make funds or economic resources available to those listed. A ban on exports to Iran of equipment, which might be used for internal repression, and of equipment for monitoring telecommunications, is also in place.
The European Union and its member states urge the Iranian authorities to stop the violent crackdown against peaceful protests, cease their resort to arbitrary detentions as a means of silencing critical voices, and release all those illegally detained.
The EU continues to call on Iran to cease immediately the imposition and execution of death sentences against protesters, reverse the death penalty sentences pronounced, and provide due process to all detainees.
These listings follow the Council’s decisions of 17 October, 14 November, and 12 December.
The relevant legal acts have been published in the Official Journal of the EU.