Gulf News

EU sanctions elite Iran commander, 7 others

Action follows deadly crackdown in November 2019

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The European Union has imposed sanctions on eight Iranian militia commanders and police chiefs, including the head of the elite Revolution­ary Guards, over a deadly crackdown in November 2019, the bloc said in its Official Journal yesterday.

The bloc, which also hit three Iranian prisons with asset freezes, blackliste­d Hossein Salami, head of the Revolution­ary Guards, the most powerful and heavily armed security force in the Islamic Republic.

“Hossein Salami took part in the sessions that resulted in the orders to use lethal force to suppress the November 2019 protests. Hossein Salami therefore bears responsibi­lity for serious human rights violations in Iran,” the EU said. The three prisons sanctioned included two in the Tehran area where the EU said those detained after the 2019 protests were deliberate­ly wounded with boiling water and denied medical treatment.

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”.

Iran, which has repeatedly rejected accusation­s by the West of human rights abuses, dismissed the EU’s sanctions as “invalid”.

Tehran suspends talks

“In response, Iran suspends comprehens­ive talks with the EU, including human rights talks and all cooperatio­n resulting from these talks, especially in the areas of terrorism, drugs and refugees,” Iranian media quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzade­h as saying.

Other individual­s targeted with EU sanctions, which take effect on Monday, include members of Iran’s hardline Basij militia, who are under the command of the Revolution­ary Guards, and its head Gholamreza Soleimani. The eight Iranians were added to an EU sanctions list for human rights abuses in Iran that was first launched in 2011 and which now numbers 89 people and four entities.

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