Western militancy towards Iran and sanctions target leaders of “oppression”

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Relations between Tehran and European capitals entered a different phase after protests erupted in Iran in mid-September, following the death of a young Kurdish woman, Mahsa Amini, after she was arrested by the “morality police” for not adhering to strict dress codes.

Senior Iranian officials consider that the Islamic Republic is facing a “hybrid war” on various levels, including the political, economic, media and psychological ones.

They accused the “enemies” of supporting the protests, which they consider a large part of as “riots”, and criticized the “interference” of several parties, including European countries, in the internal movements.

Yesterday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani said that “some European countries, including Germany, have chosen the path of provocation with the aim of creating instability.” Riots will not lead to anything.

Despite the decline in protest movements in the streets for weeks, the Europeans are seeking to maintain pressure on Tehran, as the European Union approved, yesterday, sanctions against 37 Iranian individuals and entities for “suppressing” the protests, in what is the fourth package of sanctions imposed by Brussels on Tehran in this file.

Britain also announced a new package of sanctions, denouncing violence against Iranians, including the execution of British-Iranian Ali Reza Akbari.

“The European Union strongly condemns the brutal and disproportionate use of force by the Iranian authorities against peaceful demonstrators,” Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Bilstrom wrote in a tweet, according to the rotating Swedish presidency.

German Foreign Minister Analina Baerbock said, “We still see in Iran a brutal regime against its own people.

The Iranian regime and the Revolutionary Guards terrorize their people day after day.

In the context, the British sanctions included freezing the assets of Deputy Public Prosecutor Ahmed Fadelian, who the Foreign Ministry stated was “responsible for an unfair judicial system that uses the death penalty for political purposes.”

“Those sanctioned, from judicial figures abusing the death penalty for political ends to gang members beating up protesters in the streets, are at the heart of the regime’s brutal repression of the Iranian people,” Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said in a statement.

“Britain and our partners have sent a clear message through these sanctions that there will be no recourse for perpetrators of the worst human rights abuses,” he added.

The sanctions included the commander of the ground forces in the army, Kiomrat Heidari, the deputy commander-in-chief of the Revolutionary Guards, Hussein Najat, as well as the “Basij” militia and its deputy commander, Salar Abnoush.

Sanctions were also imposed on the Basij Cooperative Foundation and the deputy commander of the law enforcement forces, Qassem Rezaei.

In Washington, the US Treasury Department announced new sanctions against Tehran, targeting 10 individuals, including the Deputy Minister of Intelligence and 4 leaders of the Revolutionary Guards.

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She explained that the sanctions targeted “those responsible for repression and the parties that finance them,” adding that “individuals of the punished have ordered the use of live bullets against Iranian demonstrators.”

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She added that the regime “relies on sham trials and executions to suppress the people.”

Iranian specialist in international relations Fayyad Zahid said, “The issue of Iran has become central to Western public opinion, in a way that makes it difficult for (Western) governments to normalize their relations with Tehran.”

Another file that raises tension between the Europeans and Iran is the latter’s supply of drones to Russia, which it used against Ukraine.

As for the latest chapters of tension, the European Parliament voted last week to include the Revolutionary Guards on the European Union’s list of “terrorist entities”.

The final decision, which is legally complex, rests with the European Council, made up of 27 member states. However, this measure seems uncertain at the present time, and causes division between different European parties.

European Union Foreign Minister Josep Borrell stressed, in this context, that a step of this kind requires a prior “judicial decision”, following which the process of listing the Guard as a “terrorist” organization can be launched.

For its part, Tehran warns of a “reciprocal response” that may include the inclusion of European armies on the Iranian list of “terrorist organizations”.

Iranian media raised other possibilities, including withdrawal from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, or measures that might restrict freedom of navigation in the Strait of Hormuz, where an essential part of oil supplies passes.

Three female journalists are arrested in Tehran

Tehran – AFP – The Iranian authorities have arrested three female journalists working for local institutions.

And the Iranian Journalists Association said in a statement yesterday that “during the past 48 hours, at least three female journalists, Malika Hashemi, Saada Shafi’i, and Mehrnoush Zarei, were arrested.”

Shafie is an independent journalist and novelist, while Zaraei works for news agencies affiliated with the reformist movement, while Hashemi works for the Shahr Agency.

Etemad newspaper reported that the three female journalists were transferred to Evin prison in Tehran.

According to the reformist newspaper, the authorities have arrested 79 journalists since last September 16, the date the protests began, following the death of the Kurdish young woman, Mahsa Amini (22 years old).

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