EU targets Iranian judges and IRGC commander in new sanctions package

Brussels has issued measures against Iran on a monthly basis since crackdown on protesters started last year

Iranians in Brussels protest against the crackdown in front of the Commissariat for Refugees HQ. EPA
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The EU on Monday issued its ninth package of sanctions against seven Iranian individuals, including judges and an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander, for their role in the crackdown against an antigovernment protest movement that started in September.

"The breaches against human rights in Iran [are] well noticed in the EU and we do what we can to hamper that as well," said Sweden's Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom as he arrived at a meeting with his counterparts in Luxembourg. Sweden currently holds the rotating six-month EU presidency.

European foreign ministers have regularly adopted sanctions against Iranian individuals and entities accused of human rights breaches since September 16, when nationwide protests erupted after the death of 22-year-old Iranian Kurd Mahsa Amini in police custody.

Human rights groups said hundreds have died in the ensuing crackdown, including dozens of security personnel.

The European Council said that the package targeted IRGC commander of Isfahan province Mojtaba Fada, among others.

Two court officials in the province were also listed: public and revolutionary prosecutor Seyyed Mousvian and deputy judge of the provincial criminal court Ali Zare Nouri.

They are responsible "for the trials against the protestors Saleh Mirhashmi, Majid Kazemi and Saied Yaqoubi, subsequently executed in May 2023," according to the council.

Their deaths brought the number of Iranians executed in connection with the protests, which Tehran has described as foreign-instigated riots, to seven.

The council also listed two security officials from the northern city of Rezvanshahr.

One of those targeted is governor and head of the local security council Seyyed Mirmahalleh, accused of ordering officers to open fire on protesters, which led to "numerous deaths and injuries, including to children."

Police commander Seyyed Safavi was also targeted for executing the orders.

Lastly, sanctions were imposed on Seyyed Hosseini, governor of Amol, "responsible for the killing of at least two young Iranian protesters," and Rashid Kaboudvandi, commander of the Imam Hossein Guards Corps of Karaj over the "detention and killing of [protester] Mohammad Reza Ghorbani and the detention and rape of [Armita] Abbassi by the Karaj security forces."

Ms Abbassi, 20, was released from prison in February after four months in jail, according to her family.

Sanctions consist of an asset freeze, an EU travel ban and prohibition from making funds or economic resources available to those listed.

EU sanctions over the Iran protests now apply to a total of 223 individuals and 37 entities.

Updated: June 26, 2023, 1:55 PM