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USA/EU: STRICTER SANCTIONS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN IRAN

In the wake of protests in Iran, both the United States and European Union have adopted stricter sanctions measures targeting Iran and the perpetrators of abuses against human rights in the country.

Since the death of Mahsa Amini while she was in custody at the hands of Iran's Morality Police, the country has seen a wave of protests, especially by women. As a response to the violent crackdown, which included a series of raids on schools that allegedly caused even the death of schoolgirls, both the United States and European Union have adopted stricter economic sanctions against the Iranian regimes and some individuals involved in the violation of human rights.


In particular, in the United States, the Biden administration has issued new sanctions against Iranian officials over what it called the “violent suppression of protests.” They targeted, among others, Ahmad Vahidi and Eisa Zarepour, Iran’s interior and communications ministers, respectively, as well as the head of the Iranian cyber-police force, Vahid Mohammad Naser Majid, and four other security officials. The sanctions were implemented to safeguard “the rights to freedom of expression and of peaceful assembly [that] are vital to guaranteeing individual liberty and dignity.” In the official statement, the authorities have declared that: “the United States condemns the Iranian government’s Internet shutdown and continued violent suppression of peaceful protest and will not hesitate to target those who direct and support such actions.”


Also, the General License D-2 has been issued by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”). It expands a prior authorization to further facilitate the free flow of information over the internet to and from Iranians. In particular, the new Licence authorizes the exportation to Iran of services, software, and hardware relating to communications over the internet removing the previous requirement of "personal communication" requirement, which generated many compliance questions.


In the European Union, on the 17th of October, the Council added eleven individuals and four entities to the list of those subject to restrictive measures in the context of the existing Iran human rights sanctions regime. The designations include those responsible for the death of Mahsa Amini: Iran’s Morality Police and two of its key figures Mohammad Rostami and Hajahmad Mirzaei. In addition, the EU designates the Iranian Law Enforcement Forces (LEF), as well as a number of its local chiefs for their role in the brutal repression of the protests. Moreover, the EU lists Issa Zarepour, the Iranian Minister of information and Communications Technology, for his responsibility in the internet shutdown.





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