EU, UK sanction dozens of Iranian officials over rights abuses

After extensive use of force by Tehran authorities against unarmed protesters, the Iranian government has been hit with coordinated travel bans and asset freezes.

In response to Iran's widespread use of force against nonviolent protestors, the European Union and the United Kingdom have imposed new sanctions on the country.

This is one of the most significant challenges to the Iranian government since the 1979 revolution, which was sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini in the hands of morality police on September 16.

According to the activist HRANA news agency, 336 protesters have been killed and over 15,100 have been arrested since the turmoil began.

EU foreign policy leader Josep Borrell issued a statement saying, "We stand with the Iranian people and support their right to protest peacefully and speak their demands and views openly."

According to an EU statement, the European Union has imposed travel bans and asset freezes on a number of Iranian officials, including Iran's Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi and high-ranking members of the Revolutionary Guards.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock told reporters as she came for a meeting with her EU counterparts in Brussels that the penalties are intended "to send a clear message to those who think they can suppress, intimidate, and kill their own people without consequences.

The British foreign office released a statement earlier on Monday saying that the country would be penalizing 24 Iranian officials in conjunction with other countries.

British sanctions are aimed at a wide variety of Iranian political and security leaders, including Communications Minister Issa Zarepour and Chief of Iran's Cyber Police Vahid Mohammad Naser Majid.

"These sanctions target officials inside the Iranian regime who are responsible for egregious human rights breaches," stated UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly.

The brutal assault on protests must end, and freedom of expression must be respected, is a message that "we and our partners" have given to the Iranian leadership.

As part of a larger crackdown on freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, Britain said Zarepour and Majid had been sanctioned for shutting down the internet in Iran, including blocking WhatsApp and Instagram.


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