LONDON: Authorities in the UK on Thursday announced plans for a new regime of sanctions against Iran, including expanded powers to target key decision makers in Tehran.
The proposals include new criteria for sanctioning individuals and entities, including those implicated in the supply or use of Iranian weapons and military technologies. The criteria now include activities that undermine regional and international peace, stability and security, or threaten democracy, respect for the rule of law and good governance.
In addition, they would allow sanctions to be imposed in response to activities hostile to the UK, including threats to people, property or security.
The move follows an increase in attempts by the regime in Tehran to kill or kidnap its enemies outside of Iran. British authorities say they have responded to more than 15 threats in the UK against citizens or other individuals since the beginning of 2022.
Iranian intelligence services have also reportedly developed close ties with organized criminal gangs across Europe in an effort to strengthen their networks.
“The Iranian regime is oppressing its own people, exporting bloodshed in Ukraine and the Middle East, and threatening to kill and kidnap on UK soil,” Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said.
“Today the UK has sent a clear message to the regime: We will not tolerate this malign behavior and we will hold you to account. Our new sanctions regime will help to ensure there can be no hiding place for those who seek to do us harm.”
The UK also announced the introduction of new sanctions under existing government mechanisms, which permit the designation of those responsible for serious human rights violations in Iran. They target 13 individuals and organizations, including officials in charge of Iranian prisons and state organizations related to cybersecurity. The sanctions include travel bans, asset freezes, and individuals or organizations in the UK are not permitted to do business with those who are sanctioned.
The UK holds the rotating presidency of the UN Security Council this month and on Thursday was due to lead international opposition to the Iranian regime’s weapons proliferation and nuclear escalation.
British authorities have reportedly provided extensive evidence to council members that Tehran continues to supply weapons to the Houthis in Yemen and to Russia for use in Ukraine, in violation of international law.