The British Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly, has announced plans for a new sanctions regime to hold Iran to account for its hostile and destabilizing behavior around the world.
Iran has increased its efforts to kill or kidnap individuals perceived to be enemies of the regime outside of Iran, including in the U.K. Since the start of 2022, the U.K. has responded to more than 15 credible threats to kill or kidnap British or U.K.-based individuals by the Iranian regime.
The regime has publicly called for the killing or capture of these individuals and in some cases detained and harassed the individual’s families in Iran. The Iranian intelligence services have developed close relationships with organized criminal gangs in the U.K. and across Europe to expand the capability of its networks.
The Foreign Secretary has therefore announced his intention to create a new sanctions regime which will give the U.K. greater powers to target Iran’s key decision makers and those doing their bidding.
The regime will significantly expand the U.K.’s sanctions powers by creating new criteria under which individuals and entities can be sanctioned, including:
- the Iranian regime’s activities undermining peace, stability and security in the Middle East and internationally
- the use and spread of weapons or weapons technologies from Iran
- the Iranian regime’s undermining of democracy, respect for the rule of law and good governance
- other hostile activities towards the U.K. and its partners emanating from the Iranian regime, including threats to British people, property, or security
The announcement comes as the U.K. drives international condemnation of Iran’s behavior at the UN this week. On July 5, the U.K. co-signed a statement calling out the regime for the significant rise in executions over the last year.
The following day, in New York, the U.K. led international opposition to Iran’s weapons proliferation and nuclear escalation at the UN Security Council (UNSC) as part of the U.K.’s Presidency in July. The U.K. has handed over extensive evidence to UNSC members demonstrating the Iranian regime continues to send weapons to the Houthis in Yemen and to Russia for use in Ukraine, in violation of UNSC restrictions.
The U.K. is also announcing a raft of new sanctions under its existing Iran Human Rights sanctions regime, which enables the designation of individuals and entities responsible for serious human rights violations in Iran.
The list of 13 individuals and entities responsible for human rights abuses includes prison governors overseeing torture and inhumane treatment, organizations charged with collecting private information of regime opponents and individuals leading the repression of women through Iran’s compulsory hijab laws. Examples of those now subject to asset freezes and travel bans are:
- Heidar Pasandideh (Governor of Sanandaj prison): has overseen regular torture and abuse within the prison. A prisoner reportedly died in Sanandaj after being severely beaten and denied medical treatment.
- IRGC Cyber Defence Command (CDC): the CDC monitors the emails, websites and online activities of regime opponents and sends evidence to other parts of the IRGC to investigate.
- The Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution (SCCR): the SCCR set Iran’s policies on cultural and educational matters, including wear of the hijab, which is implemented by the Morality Police who were responsible for beating Mahsa Amini before her death in custody in September 2022.
View the full U.K. Sanctions List