UK hits key judicial official in new wave of Iran sanctions

AFP , Monday 23 Jan 2023

The UK on Monday sanctioned five more Iranian officials, including the deputy prosecutor general, over what it said was the "horrific violence" the regime was inflicting on its own people.

James Cleverly
British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, speaks during a news conference with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in the Benjamin Franklin Room at the State Department, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023, in Washington. AP


"These sanctions, alongside designations by the European Union and the United States, demonstrate the international community's unified condemnation" of Tehran, the government said.

The EU on Monday placed 37 more Iranian officials and entities on an asset-freeze and visa-ban blacklist over Tehran's bloody crackdown on protesters, officials said.

The UK has now imposed 50 sanctions on Iranian individuals and organisations, including Tehran's prosecutor general last week, and deputy prosecutor general Ahmad Fazelian on Monday.

Iran on January 14 said it had executed British-Iranian dual citizen Alireza Akbari for spying for the UK, prompting widespread Western outrage.

London said Fazelian was responsible "for a judicial system characterised by unfair trials and egregious punishments, including use of the death penalty for political purposes".

"Alireza Akbari tragically became a victim of this brutal system," the British government added.

Other individuals sanctioned Monday include Kiyumars Heidari, commander in chief of the Islamic Republic of Iran's Ground Forces, and Hossein Nejat, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) official in charge of security in Tehran.

"Those sanctioned today... are at the heart of the regime's brutal repression of the Iranian people," said UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly.

"The UK and our partners have sent a clear message through these sanctions that there will be no hiding place for those guilty of the worst human rights violations," he added.

The sanctions impose an asset freeze and UK travel ban on the targeted individuals.

Demonstrations have swept Iran since the September 16 death in custody of Iranian Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini, 22, after her arrest in Tehran for allegedly failing to adhere to the Islamic republic's strict dress rules.

Iran has arrested at least 14,000 people in the wave of protests, according to the United Nations.

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