US, UK, EU Issue Coordinated Sanctions Against Iranian Officials
The US, UK and EU issued coordinated sanctions Monday against senior Iranian officials, including Iran’s deputy intelligence minister and four Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commanders.
UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said that there would be “no hiding place” for those guilty of violating human rights.
“Those sanctioned today, from the judicial figures using the death penalty for political ends to the thugs beating protestors on the streets, are at the heart of the regime’s brutal repression of the Iranian people,” he said.
Pressure has mounted on the EU and UK to step up sanctions in recent weeks following a series of Iranian political executions. On Wednesday the European Parliament voted to call for the IRGC to be designated in its entirety, a decision that can only be made by the unanimous vote of the EU’s Council of Ministers.
Speaking to reporters at the Council of Ministers meeting that imposed the new sanctions Monday, the EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borell said that the IRGC cannot be designated without a court ruling by an EU member state.
“It is something that cannot be decided without a court… decision first. You cannot say I consider you a terrorist because I don’t like you,” he said.
Monday’s new EU sanctions designate several regional units and unit commanders of the IRGC for their role in the crackdown on months-long protests following the death of Mahsa Amini, a Kurdish woman who died in regime custody after being arrested by Iran’s Morality Police for allegedly failing to wear her hijab in the legally-required manner.
The EU had previously only listed the IRGC’s Aerospace Force as a terrorist entity for its role in supplying drones to Russia against Ukraine.
The IRGC commanders designated Monday include figures accused of firing on protesters with live ammunition.
“In Javanrud, a town in Kermanshah province, IRGC troops used live ammunition, including from semi-heavy machine guns, to quell protests, killing and wounding dozens,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said. “The IRGC has shelled vehicles attempting to deliver blood bags to those wounded in local hospitals, preventing their delivery.”
As of 9 January, Iran Human Rights, a Norway-based NGO, records at least 481 protesters killed by Iran since September and 109 protesters facing death penalty charges.