Britain imposes sanctions on Iran's morality police amid protests

Senior security officials singled out after crackdown on Mahsa Amini demonstrators

People chant slogans and hold up images of Mahsa Amini during a protest in London in solidarity with those in Iran. AFP
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Britain on Monday announced sanctions on Iran's morality police after the death of Mahsa Amini in its custody triggered a wave of protests.

The police unit, its leader Mohammad Rostami Cheshmeh Gachi and its Tehran chief Haj Ahmad Mirzaei were added to a UK sanctions list.

Another five officials in Iran were placed under sanctions for their role in "serious human rights violations" during the protests, Britain's Foreign Office said.

They include Gholamreza Soleimani, the head of an internal security wing of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and Hassan Karami, the head of a police special forces unit.

The sanctions mean they are banned from travelling to Britain and any assets there will be frozen.

"The UK stands with the people of Iran who are bravely calling for accountability from their government and for their fundamental human rights to be respected," Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said.

“These sanctions send a clear message to the Iranian authorities — we will hold you to account for your repression of women and girls and for the shocking violence you have inflicted on your own people.”

Protests after the death of Amini, 22, are now in their fourth week. She had been detained for allegedly wearing a hijab improperly.

Britain said those under sanction had been central to a crackdown on the protests. It said there were reports of live ammunition being used against demonstrators, and dead protesters being buried without their relatives' knowledge.

The US placed the morality police under sanction last month. The EU said it was considering its own measures.

Updated: October 10, 2022, 12:54 PM