UK targets leading Iranian officials in latest sanctions list

The UK has announced a fresh round of sanctions on Iranian officials amid ongoing protests in the country.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly on Monday hit out at the “violent crackdown” on the protests sweeping Iran, as the UK added more names to its sanctions list.

In recent weeks thousands of Iranians have taken to the streets in protests sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who had been detained by police in the capital, Tehran, for allegedly not adhering to Iran’s strict Islamic dress code

The EU on Monday also confirmed it was implementing new sanctions on Iranian individuals, as the Foreign Office said that the UK was coordinating with international partners on the latest sanctions list.

Iranian communications minister Issa Zarepour and Iran’s cyber police chief Vahid Mohammad Naser Majid are among those sanctioned, alongside more than 20 others including Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps officials.

The Foreign Office said that the pair were sanctioned for overseeing the shutting down of the internet in Iran, as well as disabling Whatsapp and Instragam and banning the use of Google Play and VPNs.

Mr Cleverly said: “These sanctions target officials within the Iranian regime who are responsible for heinous human rights violations.

“Together with our partners, we have sent a clear message to the Iranian regime – the violent crackdown on protests must stop and freedom of expression must be respected.

“The Iranian people could not be clearer. It’s time for the regime to stop blaming external actors and start listening to the voices of their people.”

The UK imposed sanctions on Iran’s so-called morality police and other senior security officials last month, while last week Iran’s most senior diplomat in Britain was summoned to the Foreign Office after police received “credible information” about a threat to the lives of journalists in the UK.

Those sanctioned will not be able to travel to the UK and any assets held here will be frozen.