UK follows US in sanctioning Iranian ‘morality police’

Foreign secretary says London ‘stands with the people of Iran who are bravely calling for accountability and fundamental human rights’

A motorcycle on fire in Iran's capital Tehran, on October 8, 2022. (A picture obtained by AFP outside Iran)
A motorcycle on fire in Iran's capital Tehran, on October 8, 2022. (A picture obtained by AFP outside Iran)

LONDON — The UK on Monday said it had slapped sanctions on Iran’s “morality police” after the death in custody of a woman arrested for not wearing a headscarf.

The death of Mahsa Amini, 22, sparked a wave of protests in the Islamic republic that prompted a lethal crackdown by the authorities.

Iran’s response to the demonstrations has sparked revulsion in the West and among rights and opposition groups.

London said its new restrictions covered “the morality police in its entirety,” including its chief Mohammad Rostami Cheshmeh Gachi.

The head of the Tehran division, Haj Ahmed Mirzaei, is also on the list, the government said. Both were sanctioned by the United States last month.

Canada last week said it will permanently deny entry to more than 10,000 members of the Iranian regime, while the EU said it was weighing measures.

UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said the sanctions mean no one on the list can travel to the UK and their assets in the country will be frozen.

A demonstrator with an Iranian flag and red hands painted on her face attends a rally in support of Iranian protests, in Paris on October 9, 2022, following the death of Iranian woman Mahsa Amini in Iran. (Julien De Rosa/AFP)

“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,” he said in a statement.

“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.”

The UK also followed Washington in sanctioning five leading political and security officials in Iran for their role in the violent crackdown as well as during fuel-related protests in Iran in 2019.

A picture obtained by AFP outside Iran, reportedly shows objects lit on fire in the capital Tehran, on October 8, 2022. (AFP)

An international panel of lawyers sitting in London last month ruled that Iran’s government committed “crimes against humanity” in their suppression of the 2019 protests.

The tribunal said expert evidence suggested as many as 1,500 people were killed.

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