Article United Kingdom: Sanctions Imposed On Iranian "Morality Police"

As a result of the death of Mahsa Amini on September 16, 2022, in Iran following her arrest by the “morality police,” which triggered protests across Iran, the government of the United Kingdom (UK) on October 10, 2022, imposed sanctions against the entirety of the Iranian “morality police,” along with five other leading political and security officials. In announcing the sanctions, Foreign Secretary James Cleverly stated:

The UK stands with the people of Iran who are bravely calling for accountability from their government and for their fundamental human rights to be respected. These sanctions send a clear message to the Iranian authorities – we will hold you to account for your repression of women and girls and for the shocking violence you have inflicted on your own people.

The sanctions prohibit individuals on the UK Sanctions List from traveling to the UK and freezes any assets they hold in the UK or that are held “by UK persons anywhere.” The reasons given for the sanctions are that the “morality police” and senior officials have been perpetrating serious human rights abuses, using unreasonable force against individuals considered to be noncompliant with the Islamic dress requirements, and “engaging in and promoting violations of the right to liberty and security and the right to freedom of expression through their enforcement of mandatory dress codes for women.”

The sanctions were imposed in accordance with the Iran (Sanctions) (Human Rights) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019. These regulations, which were made under the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018, were introduced to establish a sanctions regime for Iran to encourage the Iranian government to comply with international human rights law. The regulations enable the secretary of state “to designate persons who are, or have been, involved in the commission of serious human rights violations or abuses in Iran.”

Clare Feikert-Ahalt, Law Library of Congress
October 27, 2022

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