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E.U. and Britain Sanction Iran for Rights Abuses

On February 20, the European Union and Britain separately imposed punitive sanctions on dozens of Iranian government and security officials for serious human rights violations, particularly during the protests that broke out in September 2022. The European Union, a group of 27 nations that included some of the world’s largest economies, also designated two organizations linked to the Islamic Republic’s Law Enforcement Forces (LEF), the national police. The lists included two cabinet ministers, members of parliament, judiciary and prison officials, provincial governors, and the deputy commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).


Minister of Culture Esmaeili, Minister of Education Nouri, and Rear Admiral Fadavi (deputy IRGC commander)

The designations reflected growing outrage over Tehran’s human rights abuses. “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 unjustly detained,” it said in a statement. “The Union calls on Iran to end the practice of imposing and carrying out death sentences against protesters, reverse the death penalty sentences pronounced, as well as provide due process to all detainees.” Britain would “never allow the regime’s threats to go unchallenged,” British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said in a separate press release.


The E.U. designations were the fifth round of sanctions imposed since October 2022. Britain had designated more than 50 people and entities for rights violations including the latest round. The sanctions froze all assets of the designated people and entities and banned all travel to the 28 countries. The E.U. measures also prohibited anyone from providing funds or resources to those sanctioned.


Iran retaliated with new sanctions. It cited 15 European politicians, officials, and business leaders as well as 13 European companies, including defense firms. Tehran also cited eight British citizens, including military commanders. The following are lists of the individuals and entities designated by the European countries as well as E.U. and British statements. The European Union sanctioned the following 32 men and women:

  • Mohammad Mehdi Esmaeili, minister of culture and Islamic guidance

  • Yousef Nouri, minister of education

  • Ali Fadavi, deputy IRGC commander

  • Ramezan Sharif, IRGC spokesperson

  • Fathollah Jomeiri, head of the IRGC Security Unit

  • Habibollah Jan Nesari, deputy of training and education for the LEF

  • Farzin Karimi, Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) member and co-founder of Ravin Academy, which conducts cybersecurity and hacking training and recruits for the MOIS

  • Seyed Mojtaba Mostafavi, MOIS member and co-founder of Ravin Academy

  • Ahmad Naderi, member of parliament and the parliamentary board of directors

  • Amirabadi Farahani, member of parliament and the parliamentary board of directors

  • Vali Esmaeli, member of parliament and head of the parliamentary Social Commission

  • Zohreh Elahian, member of parliament and the parliamentary National Security and Foreign Policy Commission

  • Seyyed Nezamoldin Mousavi, member of parliament and spokesperson for the parliamentary board of directors

  • Hossein Jalali, member of parliament

  • Seyyed Kazem Delkhosh Abatari, judiciary and parliamentary Legal Commission spokesperson

  • Hassan Babaei, senior judiciary official and head of the State Organization for Registration of Deeds and Properties

  • Hojatoleslam Hossein Hosseini, head of the judiciary in the Kurdistan region

  • Qazi Ghannad, Revolutionary Court prosecutor and judge

  • Seyed Hadi Mansouri, Revolutionary Court judge and head of the fourth branch of Mashhad

  • Behdad Kaamfar, Revolutionary Court prosecutor in Karaj

  • Hojatoleslam Ali Mostafavinia, cleric and chief prosecutor for Sistan and Baluchistan province

  • Mohammad Jabari, prosecutor for Kurdistan province

  • Mehdi Shamsabad, prosecutor for Sistan and Baluchistan province

  • Hossein Fazeli Harikandi, general prosecutor for Alborz province

  • Hassan Madadi, acting prosecutor for Alborz province

  • Mohammad Hossein Khosravi, director general of prisons for Sistan and Baluchistan province

  • Ali Cheharmahali, director general of prisons for Alborz province

  • Murad Fathi, director of prisons for West Azerbaijan province

  • Soghra Khodadadi Taghanaki, director of Qarchak Women’s Prison near Tehran

  • Heidar Pasandideh, warden of Sanandaj Central Prison in Kurdistan province

  • Morteza Piri, warden of Zahedan Central Prison in Sistan and Baluchistan province

  • Allah Karam Azizi, head of Rajaee Shahr Prison in Alborz province

The European Union also designated the following two entities:

  • LEF Cooperation Foundation, an economic collaborative and financing arm of the LEF used to evade sanctions

  • Police Science and Social Studies Institute, an affiliate of the LEF that produced anti-riot drones for police crackdowns on protests

Britain sanctioned the following eight men:

  • Mohammad Taghi Osanloo, IRGC Ground Forces commander for the Hamzeh Seyyed al Shohada headquarters

  • Parviz Absalan, deputy IRGC commander of the Salman Corps in Sistan and Baluchistan province

  • Amanollah Garshasbi, deputy IRGC commander for Sistan and Baluchistan province

  • Mohammad Karami, governor of Sistan and Baluchistan province and former IRGC Ground Forces commander for the Quds Operational Base

  • Hassan Asgari, governor of Sanandaj, Kurdistan province

  • Musa Asif al Hosseini, Revolutionary Court judge in Karaj, Alborz province

  • Hadi Mansouri, Revolutionary Court judge in Mashhad

  • Morteza Barati, Revolutionary Court Judge in Isfahan

E.U. Statement

The Council today decided to impose restrictive measures on additional 32 individuals and two entities responsible for serious human rights violations in Iran.


Among the persons listed are the Iranian Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance and Minister of Education, the deputy commander and spokesperson of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the co-founders of EU-listed Ravin Academy, members of the Iranian parliament supporting the violent crackdown, members of the police, judiciary in various parts of the country, and prison wardens and directors.


Today’s designations also target the Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) Cooperation Foundation and the Police Science and Social Studies Institute.


Restrictive measures now apply to a total of 196 individuals and 33 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 unjustly detained.


The Union calls on Iran to end the practice of imposing and carrying out death sentences against protesters, reverse the death penalty sentences pronounced, as well as provide due process to all detainees.


These listings follow the Council’s decisions of 17 October, 14 November, 12 December and 23 January.


The relevant legal acts have been published in the Official Journal of the EU.

British Statement

The Foreign Secretary today instructed Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) officials to summon Iran’s most senior diplomat, due to serious threats against journalists living in the UK.

It follows the decision at the weekend by Iran International, a London-based TV network, to suspend UK operations as a result of continued threats to its staff by the Iranian regime.

Vijay Rangarajan, Director General for the Middle East, held the meeting with Iranian Chargé d’Affaires Mehdi Hosseini Matin to make clear the UK will not tolerate threats to life and media freedom.


As part of wider efforts to hold the regime to account over its behaviour globally, the UK and international partners have also today imposed further sanctions on 8 senior Iranian figures responsible for repressing their own people.


They include 3 judges who imposed the death penalty against protestors and 5 IRGC commanders.


Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said:


The UK will always stand up to countries who threaten our fundamental values of freedom of expression and the media.


I am appalled by the Iranian regime’s continuing threats to the lives of UK-based journalists and have today summoned its representative to make clear this will not be tolerated.


As part of wider efforts to hold Iran to account, the UK has today also sanctioned a further 8 individuals responsible for horrific human rights violations in Iran, including the killing of children.


We will never allow the regime’s threats to go unchallenged.


The individuals sanctioned today include:

  • Mohammad Taghi Osanloo: an IRGC Ground Forces Commander in West Azerbaijan and Kurdistan where children are among those who have been killed during the protests. Video footage showed that a 10-year-old was severely injured after being shot by IRGC forces on 26 September

  • Mohammad Karami: when referring to peaceful protestors, Karami pledged to  “wreak vengeance on the terrorist groups” while he was an IRGC Ground Forces Commander in Sistan and Baluchestan province where over 80 protestors and bystanders were killed in September 2022

  • Musa Asif Al-Hosseini: issued death penalties to Mohammed Karami and Mohammed Hosseini, who were executed in January 2023 despite trials which reportedly relied on forced confessions

  • Morteza Barati: as part of the ‘Isfahan House case’ in January 2023, he is reported to have sentenced Saleh Mirhashmi, Majid Kazemi and Saeed Yaqoubi Kurdsafli to death. It was reported that Barati did not allow the presence of appointed counsel during the trial and that Kazemi was subjected to torture

Since Mahsa Amini’s death in September 2022, the UK has imposed sanctions on more than 50 Iranian individuals and entities in response to human rights violations by the regime.

These sanctions constitute an asset freeze and UK travel ban on the individuals concerned and send a wider signal on the UK’s commitment to backing condemnation with action.

Photo Credits: Esmaeili via khamenei.ir CC BY 4.0; Nouri via Fars News CC BY 4.0; Fadavi via khamenei.ir CC BY 4.0

Original-Text: The Iran Imprimer/ United States Institute of Peace

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