JEDDAH: Western allies on Monday slapped a new raft of sanctions on Iran over the regime’s “brutal repression” of civilian protests.
The coordinated moves by the US, the UK and the EU are the latest response to Tehran’s deadly clampdown on unrest since the death of young Iranian Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini in morality police custody in September.
The new US sanctions target the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Cooperative Foundation, an economic conglomerate established by senior Guard officers to manage its investments. The US Treasury said the foundation was “a wellspring of corruption and graft” that funded the Guards’ military adventures abroad.
The US said the Guards were continuing to aggressively crack down on peaceful demonstrations, and played “a leading role in suppressing protests through extensive human rights abuses.”
It also blacklisted five foundation board members, Deputy Minister of Intelligence and Security Naser Rashedi, and four senior Revolutionary Guard commanders.
“Along with our partners, we will continue to hold the Iranian regime accountable so long as it relies upon violence, sham trials, the execution of protesters, and other means of suppressing its people,” US Treasury official Brian Nelson said.
The UK imposed sanctions and an asset freeze on Iranian deputy prosecutor general Ahmad Fazelian, who the British foreign office said was responsible for an unfair judicial system that used the death penalty for political purposes.
It also blacklisted Kiyumars Heidari, commander of Iran’s ground forces; Hossein Nejat, the Guards’ deputy commander; the Basij militia and its deputy commander, Salar Abnoush; and Qasem Rezaei, deputy commander of Iran’s law enforcement forces.
“Those sanctioned today, from the judicial figures using the death penalty for political ends to the thugs beating protesters on the streets, are at the heart of the regime’s brutal repression of the Iranian people,” British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said.
The EU imposed asset freezes and visa bans on 37 Iranian officials and groups, including the sports minister, Revolutionary Guard commanders in 12 regions of Iran, hard-line politicians, senior state media officials and the head of the so-called “morality police.”
However, the 27-nation bloc has stopped short of blacklisting the Revolutionary Guards as a terror group despite calls from Germany and the Netherlands to do so.
“You cannot say, ‘I consider you a terrorist because I do not like you’,” foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said.
“It has to be done when a court of one member state issues a legal statement, a concrete condemnation.”