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Iran Sanctions UK Entities, Individuals for ‘Inciting Protests’

By Nigar Bayramli October 21, 2022

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Iranian women have been waving their headscarves in the air and setting them on fire at protests. / Getty Images

The Iranian Foreign Ministry has announced that Tehran has sanctioned several British people and institutions for "incitement of riots" and "support of terrorism".

The UK National Cyber Security Centre, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), Global Media, DMA Media, BBC Persian, Iran International TV and Volant Media are sanctioned due to their "deliberate actions in supporting and inciting terrorism and terrorist groups, spreading violence and hatred, and violating human rights," the foreign ministry website announced on October 19.

The list also includes Individuals such as UK Minister of State for Security Tom Tugendhat, the British naval commander in the Persian Gulf, Don MacKinnon and former Chief of Staff General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith.

Iran sanctioned them over the UK’s stance over the continuing protests in Iran sparked by Mahsa Amini's death in police custody on September 16.

On October 10, the British government sanctioned senior Iranian security officials and the morality police, for "using the threat of detention and violence to control what Iranian women wear and how they behave in public". In addition, the EU imposed sanctions on 11 individuals and four entities over their involvement in "serious human rights violations" on October 17.

According to Iran’s hardline news agency Fars, government employees and foreign nationals were among the individuals arrested in the protests. Fars claimed that the majority of those arrested in Tehran were from opposition groups including "monarchists, Kurdish grouplets, Mojahedin-e Khalq Organisation (MKO), Marxist groups, Pan-Turkists and Sunni extremists".

In another report on October 19, Fars claimed that citizens of 14 countries, including the US, Britain, and Afghanistan, had been detained in the protests.

Around 7,800 people, including 175 university students and at least 40 journalists were arrested during the heavy crackdown on protests which have been going on for more than a month. About 240 people, including 32 minors, have been killed in the protests, according to the rights group HRANA. Meanwhile, the Iranian state news outlets say, 27 security officers have been killed at the hands of protesters.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said at a meeting with a group of top students and science academics on October 19 that "it is better for the enemies of the country and for their progress if the universities are closed, damaged, dysfunctional, or slowed down. That is why, at different times, there have been attempts to close universities and classes, or to stop students or professors to go to classes”.

The Iranian supreme leader and other Iranian officials have repeatedly blamed the US, Israel and others for the protests which have been going on for more than a month.

The Iranian authorities blocked access to Instagram and WhatsApp after nationwide protests intensified over the death of Mahsa Amini in police custody on September 16.

Meanwhile, addressing a cabinet meeting on October 19, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi urged government officials to improve the efficiency of homegrown online platforms amid bans on Instagram and WhatsApp during the current protests.

Amid the crackdown on the protests, Iranian Prosecutor-General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri said the leaders of the protests may be charged with "waging war on God", which is punishable by death.

He said protesters who are found guilty of a killing may receive the death sentence for "retribution in kind" under the Shariah Law, upon the request of the families of the victims.