UK Stands Firm in Support of Iranian People
In a powerful show of solidarity, the UK Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly, paid tribute to the courage of Iranian women on the anniversary of Mahsa Amini’s tragic death. He reaffirmed the UK’s unwavering commitment to stand alongside the Iranian people as they demand their fundamental rights.
Coordinated Sanctions Announced
Tomorrow marks the solemn anniversary, and the United Kingdom, joined by the United States, Canada, and Australia, has unveiled a synchronized set of sanctions targeting Iranian officials and entities.
UK Sanctions Target Key Enforcers of Iran’s Mandatory Hijab Law
The UK’s sanctions are specifically aimed at high-ranking individuals responsible for implementing Iran’s mandatory hijab legislation. These laws curtail women’s freedom to choose their attire, imposing punitive measures such as imprisonment and hefty fines for refusing to wear a hijab.
Foreign Secretary Commends Iranian Women’s Resilience
Foreign Secretary James Cleverly expressed his admiration for the determination of Iranian women as they persistently advocate for their fundamental freedoms.
Furthermore, he emphasized the significance of today’s sanctions, sending a clear message that the UK and its allies will continue to support Iranian women and denounce the oppression they endure.
The sanctions imposed today target prominent figures who play pivotal roles in enforcing Iran’s oppressive laws. Notable among them are:
- Mohammad Mehdi Esmaili: Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance.
- Mohammad Hashemi: Deputy Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance.
- Alireza Zakani: Mayor of Tehran.
- Saeed Montazer Al-Mahdi: Iranian Police Spokesman.
Roles and Actions of Sanctioned Figures
The Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance, Mohammad Mehdi Esmaili, oversees the enforcement of government dress codes within Iranian society. Esmaili has declared that actresses who defy hijab requirements in public or on social media will no longer be permitted to pursue acting careers. He also threatened actions against businesses whose female employees do not comply with hijab mandates.
The Iranian Police Spokesman, Saeed Montazer Al-Mahdi, issued threats indicating that the regime would take strict measures against women who remove their hijabs, including impounding the cars of those found driving without hijab.
Repression and International Response
The Morality Police’s activities had diminished following widespread protests following Mahsa Amini’s death and international sanctions, including those imposed by the UK. However, earlier this year, these forces reemerged as part of a renewed crackdown on women in Iran.
This included imposing specific penalties on women who did not wear the hijab, including barring them from using the Tehran Metro and preventing female actors from working under the Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance’s directives.
Ongoing UK Sanctions and Global Isolation of Iran
The UK has previously placed sanctions on more than 350 Iranian officials and entities, including the Prosecutor General and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in its entirety. Earlier this year, the UK announced plans to establish a new sanctions regime, targeting decision-makers in Iran engaged in hostile activities both domestically and globally.
The UK previously sanctioned the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution, which is responsible for women’s dress codes in Iran.
Since Mahsa Amini’s tragic death, the Iranian regime has faced growing international isolation and mounting sanctions pressure due to severe human rights violations against its citizens and the supply of UAV-related technology to Russia for use in Ukraine. In December 2022, Iran was removed from the UN Commission on the Status of Women.
Further Actions Taken by the UK
Additionally, the UK has enacted sanctions against Arvan Cloud, an internet cloud service provider facilitating the repression of the Iranian people. Arvan Cloud is a key collaborator with Iran’s Information and Communications Technology Ministry, aiding in the development of a national intranet used to disconnect Iranians from the global internet.