Iran sanctions UK officials, media for ‘incitement’

Iran said it was sanctioning British individuals and entities for “activities that led to unrest, violence and terrorist acts against the Iranian nation”.

These included Tom Tugendhat, Minister of State for Security, Commodore Don Mackinnon, Commander of the British Navy in the Persian Gulf, and Steve McCabe, MP and Chairman of Labor Friends of Israel, as well as media and their owners, including BBC Persian and Iran International. Iran also cited the UK’s National Cyber ​​Security Center (NCSC) and intelligence center known as “GCHQ”.

During the recent unrest, Iranian officials have complained about foreign media and social media operators, including those in Britain reporting protests and airing interviews with Iranian experts based abroad, including state-funded media. The clerical regime in Iran has opposed news and commentary that it says justifies attacks on government workers and ambulances, while it does not allow Tehran media to report on the protests.

The government also often cut internet access or slowed down computer traffic for more than a month to prevent news and images of the protests from being shared among the population.

The official IRNA news site said the named individuals would not be allowed to enter Iran and that all assets held under Iranian jurisdiction would be confiscated. He said the measure did not prevent criminal prosecution and that Iran still held the British government “responsible for supporting terrorists and human rights violators who organize and incite riots and acts terrorists in Iran from its soil”.

Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian also said on Wednesday that Iran would designate 19 US and European officials and entities for sanctions and “incitement to violence”.

Iran has persecuted journalists working for the BBC, US-funded international broadcasters Voice of America and Radio Farda, and staff of Iran International and other media organizations. Family members have been harassed for more than a decade and direct threats have been made against journalists.

Iran’s 83-year-old leader Ali Khamenei and other officials have blamed the protests on “foreign enemies” and “their media”, while experts and some Iranian politicians have been warning for months that the social and political atmosphere was conducive to popular demonstrations. and troubles.

In fact, the protests have continued almost uninterrupted since December 2017, when rising prices first led to nationwide unrest. In November 2019, a sudden hike in gasoline prices by the government also led to large protests in which security forces killed at least 1,500 civilians.

The current protests which began on September 16 were sparked by the death in police custody of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who had been arrested three days earlier for her “inappropriate hijab”. Women and young people led protests demanding regime change, their favorite slogan being “Death to the dictator”.

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