LONDON: 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.