EU imposes sanctions on 29 individuals and three organizations in Iran

As the Iranian regime faces massive protests, Europe is expanding the sanctions against the Iranians who took part in human rights violations, including members of the squad that arrested Mahsa Amini

 EUROPEAN UNION flags flutter outside the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels. (photo credit: YVES HERMAN/REUTERS)
EUROPEAN UNION flags flutter outside the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels.
(photo credit: YVES HERMAN/REUTERS)

The European Union on Tuesday slapped additional sanctions on Iran, targeting 29 individuals and three organizations, in response to what it has condemned as Tehran's widespread use of force against peaceful protesters.

"We stand with the Iranian people and support their right to protest peacefully and voice their demands and views freely," EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a statement.

"We stand with the Iranian people and support their right to protest peacefully and voice their demands and views freely."

Josep Borrell, EU foreign policy chief

Among those sanctioned with travel bans and asset freezes are four members of the squad that arrested Mahsa Amini who later died in morality police custody, high-ranking members of the Revolutionary Guards and Iran's Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi, according to an EU statement.

Iran's clerical rulers faced mounting international pressure on Monday over their crackdown on protests, with France's president characterizing the unrest as a revolution and European governments planning sanctions on the Revolutionary Guards.

The nationwide protests, ignited by Mahsa Amini's death in morality police custody on September 16 after her arrest for "inappropriate attire," have turned into a legitimacy crisis for the four-decade-old Islamic Republic.

 Demonstrators protest following the death of Mahsa Amini in Iran, in Berlin, Germany, October, 22, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/CHRISTIAN MANG) Demonstrators protest following the death of Mahsa Amini in Iran, in Berlin, Germany, October, 22, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/CHRISTIAN MANG)

France's Emmanuel Macron's comments

"Something unprecedented is happening," France's Emmanuel Macron told France Inter radio. "The grandchildren of the revolution are carrying out a revolution and are devouring it."

"I don't think there will be new proposals which can be made right now to save the nuclear deal."

Emmanuel Macron

Macron said the crackdown by Iranian leaders would make it harder to reach an agreement on reviving the 2015 nuclear deal, which would give Iran sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program.

"This revolution changes many things," Macron said. "I don't think there will be new proposals which can be made right now to save the nuclear deal."

Speaking after he met four Iranian women activists in Paris over the weekend, Macron said that more European Union sanctions would be adopted in reaction to Tehran's actions.

Women and students have played a leading role, calling for the downfall of Islamist rule under Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in defiance of a tough crackdown by security forces.

Iran's foreign ministry spokesman criticized Macron on Saturday after he met the activists, calling his stance "shameful" and a violation of France's responsibilities in the fight against terrorism.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said on Monday new European sanctions would include targeted measures at "the inner circle" of the Revolutionary Guard - the main paramilitary force in charge of protecting the Shi’ite clerical ruling system - and financing structures.

"We will pass a new sanctions package to send a clear signal to those responsible who think they can oppress, intimidate and kill their own people without consequences," she said before a meeting with other EU foreign ministers in Brussels.

"We will pass a new sanctions package to send a clear signal to those responsible who think they can oppress, intimidate and kill their own people without consequences."

Annalena Baerbock, Germany's Foreign Minister

Iran's crackdown against the protests

The activist news agency HRANA said 341 protesters had been killed in the unrest, including 52 minors.

It said 39 members of the security forces were killed and more than 15,820 people had been arrested as of Sunday in protests around 140 cities and towns and 138 universities.

Iranian leaders, who have blamed foreign enemies including the United States for what they call riots, are battling protests bringing together all layers of society, from lawyers to shopkeepers to actors and athletes.

Eight weeks after the demonstrations erupted, students organized a sit-in at Sharif University in Tehran to protest against the arrest of fellow students and in support of the protest movement, HRANA said.

A video shared by HRANA on Monday also showed students gathered at the University of Medical Sciences in the city of Qazvin, shouting slogans supportive of activist and blogger Hossein Ronaghi. Reuters could not verify the authenticity of the video.

He was transferred to a Tehran hospital on Sunday from Evin prison, where he has been held since his arrest in September. His brother said on Twitter Ronaghi had been on hunger strike for over 50 days and both his legs were broken in prison.

However, the judiciary news agency Mizan said "Ronaghi will soon be discharged from his hospital and his health is fine." It said all claims that his legs were broken are false.

A video shared by HRANA on Monday also showed students gathered at the University of Medical Sciences in the city of Qazvin shouting slogans supportive of Ronaghi.

Iran's judiciary on Sunday said one person had been sentenced to death for "waging war against God," which is punishable by death in Iran, for setting fire to a government building. It said he could appeal the verdict.