Iranians have been protesting against the Iranian regime since mid-September and have been violently repressed. Now the EU is working.
In the wake of serious human rights violations in Iran, EU states have agreed to a new package of sanctions. Multiple diplomats confirmed to the German press agency that the committee of permanent representatives of member states unanimously approved the plan in Brussels on Friday. A formal decision is expected to be taken without further discussion at a meeting of foreign ministers on Monday.
Specifically, 31 individuals and institutions were reported to have been affected by the punitive measures – for example, the police and high-ranking representatives of the Basij militia. They issue entry bans and asset freezes in the EU.
About 15,000 protesters were reportedly arrested
The background to the ban is the brutal crackdown on protests following the death of 22-year-old Iranian Mahsa Amini. The vice squad arrested the young woman on September 13 for allegedly violating the Islamic dress code. Amini died in police custody on September 16.
Since his death, thousands of people have been protesting across the country against the government’s repressive actions and Islamic rule. According to human rights activists, around 15,000 protestors have been arrested so far.
In Brussels, Germany particularly campaigned for a new EU sanctions package. Foreign Minister Annalena Bierbock (Green) had already announced in October that she wanted to get tough on Tehran and also announced to work on new sanctions. On Wednesday, he wrote on Twitter: “We stand by the men and women of Iran, not just today, but as long as it takes.”
Burbucks wants to classify the Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization
According to Beyerbock, the UN Human Rights Council has a special session on Iran and is also working to ensure that an investigative process is mandated. According to information from EU circles, the idea of classifying the Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization, which was also raised by Bayerbok, will not be possible in the short term. This is due to open legal questions and reservations from other EU countries.
According to critics, the classification of the Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization may make the continuation of the nuclear deal with Iran less likely. It is intended to persuade Iran to permanently abandon the development of nuclear weapons. Observers expect a strong response from Tehran if it is classified as a terrorist group.
The Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) is the elite unit of Iran’s armed forces and is much more important than the classic army. They report directly to the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final say on all strategic matters. This entity also has extensive political and economic influence in the country. In a recent speech, the commander of the Revolutionary Guard, Hussein Salami, called for an end to the protests. “Protesters should not overtax the system’s patience,” the general warned about two weeks ago.
The first sanctions in mid-October were aimed at the Vice Squad
As of mid-October, the EU decided on an initial package of sanctions in response to the latest developments. It targeted Iran’s morality police and more than a dozen individuals and organizations. At that time, too, members of the Basij militia, which the European Union blamed for the deaths of several protesters, were sanctioned.
In particular, Iran’s moral police have been accused of illegal violence against women for violating Iranian law on wearing the Islamic hijab, as well as sexual and gender-based violence. The task force is also alleged to have made arbitrary arrests and detentions and used excessive force and torture.
The EU also imposed sanctions on Iran for supporting Russia
Regarding Mahsa Amini’s death, the Official Gazette reported in October that the young woman was arbitrarily arrested on September 13 for allegedly not wearing her hijab properly. He was then taken to the vice squad headquarters for an “education and orientation course”. According to reliable reports and eyewitnesses, he was brutally beaten and ill-treated, eventually dying on 16 September. The representation is controversial to this day.
In addition to sanctions for human rights abuses, the EU recently imposed new sanctions on Iran for supporting Russia’s war against Ukraine. So far Shahed Aviation Industries Company and three high-ranking military personnel have been affected. According to the EU, you are involved in the development and supply of combat drones to Russia, which will be used by the Russian armed forces in the war against Ukraine.