EU to issue new round of sanctions against Iran for human rights violations

Dozens more people and organisations will be on Monday's list, diplomats say

A demonstrator near the Iranian consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, protests in support of Iranian women on November 7, 2022. The EU is preparing more sanctions against individuals and organisations in Iran. Reuter
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The European Union is preparing sanctions against “around 30” more Iranian individuals and entities at Monday's meeting of foreign affairs ministers, diplomats said.

The latest sanctions package will come less than a month after the European Council hit senior Iranian officials and entities for their role in the repression of anti-government protesters.

A nationwide uprising started on September 16 following the death of Mahsa Amini, 22, after she was detained for wearing her hijab improperly.

Protesters are demanding an end to the hardline interpretation of Sharia under supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Human right organisations said that authorities have killed more than 200 people and arrested 12,500 others during protests.

One senior EU official said that the protests were questioning “the very existence of the regime”.

“Look at the videos. There are girls in the street without the hijab. There are young people approaching clerics and taking their turbans [off]. It’s a very new situation. Society is asking for a normal life. We have to support that,” the official said.

Iranians targeted by the EU on October 17 included Information Minister Issa Zarepour for restricting access to the internet since the start of protests.

Last month’s list also included senior officials from Iran’s morality police, law enforcement forces and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

“The morality police has used unlawful force against women for not complying with Iranian hijab laws, sexual and gender-based violence, arbitrary arrests and detentions, excessive violence and torture,” according to the EU.

In addition to the morality police, the Basij resistance force, a volunteer paramilitary organisation involved in the repression of protesters, was also on the list.

EU sanctions lists are prepared in co-ordination between the bloc’s 27 member states and its external action service. The list becomes effective when it is published in the EU’s official journal.

In a separate move, the EU on October 20 targeted Iran with sanctions for its supply of drones to Russia in its war against Ukraine. Media reports claimed that Iran recently started transferring ballistic missiles to Russia.

The EU official said that Brussels was aware of such reports and was working on independent verification. Sanctions were to be expected should they be confirmed.

Updated: November 11, 2022, 1:48 PM