EU to sanction Iran militia, police, three entities over 2019 protests: Diplomats

The European Union will target eight Iranian militia and police commanders and three state entities with sanctions next week over a deadly crackdown in November 2019 by Iranian authorities, three diplomats said on Wednesday.

The travel bans and asset freezes will be the first time the EU has imposed sanctions on Iran for human rights abuses since 2013 and are set to be put in place some time next week after the Easter holidays in Europe, the diplomats said.

The individuals to be targeted include members of Iran’s hard-line Basij militia, who are under the command of the Revolutionary Guards, the most powerful and heavily armed security force in the Islamic Republic.

Reuters reported on Tuesday that the EU was planning the sanctions. The bloc declined to comment on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Iran has repeatedly rejected accusations by the West of human rights abuses. The Iranian Embassy in Brussels was not immediately available for comment, nor were other Iranian officials.

About 1,500 people were killed during less than two weeks of unrest that started on Nov. 15, 2019, according to a toll provided to Reuters by three Iranian interior ministry officials at the time. The United Nations said the total was at least 304.

Iran has called the toll given by sources “fake news.”

On March 9, UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, Javaid Rehman, presented a report saying Tehran used lethal force during the protests and chided it for failing to conduct a proper investigation or for failing to hold anyone accountable.

Asked why the bloc had taken so long to process its sanctions response, one EU diplomat involved in the preparations cited the need for strong evidence against those hit with the punitive measures.

Read the complete article at: Arab News

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