Iran yesterday strongly condemned new sanctions imposed by the EU and Britain, and said that it would retaliate, after the West stepped up pressure on Iran over its crackdown on protests.
“The Islamic Republic will soon announce the list of new sanctions against the human rights violators of EU and England,” Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Nasser Kanaani said in a statement.
The EU imposed sanctions on more than 30 Iranian officials and organizations, including units of the powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), blaming them for a “brutal” crackdown on unrest and other human rights abuses.
Foreign ministers from the EU’s 27 member countries agreed on the measures at a meeting in Brussels on Monday.
Those sanctions targeted units and senior officials of the IRGC across Iran, including in Sunni-populated areas where the state crackdown has been intense, a list published in the EU’s Official Journal showed.
The US also issued new sanctions against Iran, reflecting a deterioration in the West’s already dire relations with Tehran.
The sanctions are the latest response to Iran’s deadly clampdown on unrest after the death of young Iranian Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini in morality police custody in September last year.
The US targeted the IRGC and senior officials in its action, which imposed sanctions on the corps’ Cooperative Foundation and five of its board members, Iranian Deputy Minister of Intelligence and Security Naser Rashedi, and four senior IRGC commanders in Iran.
The US Department of the Treasury said the action targets a “key economic pillar of the IRGC, which funds much of the regime’s brutal suppression; as well as senior security officials coordinating Tehran’s crackdown at the national and provincial levels.”
Washington has accused the IRGC of continuing to aggressively crack down on peaceful demonstrations and said it has played “a leading role in suppressing protests through extensive human rights abuses.”
The IRGC was set up shortly after the 1979 Islamic Revolution to protect the Shiite clerical ruling system. It has an estimated 125,000-strong military with army, navy and air units, and commands the Basij religious militia often used in crackdowns.
The Treasury described the IRGC Cooperative Foundation — already under US sanctions — as an economic conglomerate established by senior officials of the group to manage its investments and presence in sectors of Iran’s economy.
It accused the IRGC Cooperative Foundation of having become “a wellspring of corruption and graft,” and said funds from it have supported the IRGC’s military adventures abroad.
“Along with our partners, we will continue to hold the Iranian regime accountable so long as it relies upon violence, sham trials, the execution of protesters and other means of suppressing its people,” US Undersecretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson said in a statement.
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