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Iran slaps new sanctions on EU and UK in tit-for-tat move

By AFP - Jan 25,2023 - Last updated at Jan 25,2023

This file grab taken from a UGC video made available on the ESN platform on October 30, 2022, reportedly shows Iranians applauding and acclaiming as they gather in Arak to mourn the death of a demonstrator who was allegedly beaten to death by security forces on October 26 (AFP photo)

TEHRAN — Iran imposed sanctions on Wednesday on 34 individuals and entities from the European Union and Britain in reaction to similar measures they have taken over Tehran’s response to months-long protests.

Tehran’s move comes two days after the EU and Britain slapped another round of sanctions on the Islamic republic, which has been rocked by protests since the September 16 death of Mahsa Amini.

Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurd, died in custody after being arrested for allegedly breaching the country’s strict dress code for women.

The sanctions imposed by Tehran include the blocking of accounts and transactions in Iran’s banks and the “prohibition of visa issuance and entry” to Iran, the foreign ministry said.

Iran accuses the people and organisations of “supporting terrorism and terrorist groups, instigating and encouragement to terrorist acts and violence against Iranian people”.

It also accuses them of “interference in the domestic affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran and fomenting violence and unrest and dissemination of false information about Iran”.

The sanctions include 25 listed names from the EU and nine from Britain.

France’s Radio J, the European Friends of Israel group, and 22 individuals including six members of the European Parliament are among those targeted.

The list also includes the Swedish-Danish right-wing extremist Rasmus Paludan, who burned a copy of the Koran in Sweden on Saturday, sparking strong protests from the Muslim world.

 

Western sanctions 

 

The EU on Monday imposed its fourth round of sanctions against Iran since the protests started, placing 37 more officials and entities on an asset freeze and visa ban blacklist.

Britain on the same day sanctioned five more Iranian officials, broadening its blacklist to 50 individuals and organisations it considers to be involved in dealing with the protests.

The new Iranian list also includes nine French nationals, among them Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo and the philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy.

Also targeted are three members of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which was already placed as an entity on a previous Iranian sanctions list for publishing caricatures of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

In Britain, they include Victoria Prentis, the attorney general, army chief Patrick Sanders and the former defence secretary, Liam Fox.

The EU has already imposed sanctions on more than 60 Iranian officials and entities over the crackdown on protesters, including the morality police, state media and individual commanders of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

But the 27-nation bloc has so far stopped short of blacklisting the IRGC as a whole as a “terrorist” organisation, despite calls from Germany and The Netherlands to do so.

 

Iran nuclear file 

 

Iran has warned the bloc against sanctioning the Revolutionary Guard, and EU officials are wary it could kill off stalled talks they have been mediating on reviving a 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran.

The agreement gave Iran sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear programme to guarantee that Tehran could not develop or acquire a nuclear weapon — something it has always denied wanting to do.

Meanwhile on Tuesday, the head of the UN’s nuclear watchdog, Rafael Grossi, said he plans to go to Iran in February for “much needed” talks regarding the country’s cooperation with the agency.

The head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation, Mohammad Eslam, confirmed the news on Wednesday, saying the “planning and consultation for the visit... is on the agenda”.

But the negotiations between Tehran and worlds powers to revive the deal have been sidetracked during the more than four months of protests.

Hundreds of people, including members of the security forces, have been killed and thousands arrested in what Iranian authorities have labelled “riots”.

Iran’s judiciary has sentenced to death a total of 18 people in connection with the protests. Four of them have already been executed, triggering widespread international outrage.

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