Note: The report has translated from Italian to English by Google
il Manifesto: If the European Union manages to face a united front, 35 figures of the Iranian nomenklatura will no longer be able to enter the old continent, their possible assets and bank accounts will be frozen and they will not be able to undertake any business with European companies, even if they remain in Iran.
At the top of the list is Abdolreza Rahman Fazli, Minister of the Interior and head of the National Security Council: he is the one who turned off the internet and ordered the police and the military to use lethal weapons during the protests of November 2019. when hundreds of unarmed demonstrators died and were injured.
Hossein Ashtari, commander-in-chief of the police and member of the National Security Council is also in the sights: he participated in the meetings that led to the decision to shoot and is the head of the special units that hit the demonstrators.
It is unlikely (but not excluded) that these gentlemen have economic and financial interests in Europe. Consequently, the individual restrictions of the EU against them would be a symbolic gesture, to make it clear that Brussels does not close its eyes to human rights violations. To put pressure on all EU countries to join this initiative is the NGO Justice4Iran, which has collected evidence and testimonies of the violence.
“Poland, Austria, Spain and Italy seem to be hesitating, perhaps they don’t want to risk losing a slice of the market when business with Tehran opens up,” observes co-director Shadi Sadr.
Let’s take a step back to remember what happened. Following a sudden increase in fuel prices, thousands of demonstrators poured into the streets on 15 November 2019. Protests were generally peaceful, but in some locations government buildings and banks had been targeted and gas stations were set on fire. By the evening of November 16, the protests had spread and the authorities imposed a blocking of the Internet . The information blackout continued for five days, allowing the police, security forces and military to crack down on dissent.
After months we still do not know how many were the dead : for Amnesty International 304, according to a Reuters report citing sources of the Ministry of the Interior, as many as 1500. “In the last thirty years there had been no serious atrocities like those of the November 2019, when hundreds of demonstrators were killed and thousands of others injured or arrested in at least 39 cities and 15 provinces of Iran. Despite the requests of the families of the victims for justice to be done, the judiciary has not initiated any investigation, guaranteeing total impunity ”, continues Sadr.
How can this state violence be explained? According to Drewery Dyke, author of the reportCeasefire / Minority Rights Grouppublished in June, “the authorities of the Islamic Republic perceive any political challenge as a threat to their own existence. To defend national security, they imprison, torture and kill their own citizens. It is this imperative that has dominated public life since the 1979 revolution. It is dissidents, ethnic and religious minorities, those with dual citizenship, migrants that pay the price. It is this imperative that has allowed the immeasurable growth of power of the Revolutionary Guards ».
Regarding the reluctance of Poland, Austria, Spain and Italy to subscribe to individual restrictions on the 35 Iranians guilty of the repression, Dyke observes: “Yet in June all these four European countries voted to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur of the United Nations on Iran, it means that they are well aware that the human rights situation in Iran is such as to require monitoring by a person designated by the UN ”.
Now it is a question of sanctioning 35 Iranian individuals guilty of giving orders to commit the worst atrocities on demonstrators. These new sanctions would be aimed at targeting only these 35 individuals and not the population, as the US embargo does.
«The European Union and Italy, as its prominent member, cannot ignore the violations of human rights in Iran. Applying sanctions against these 35 individuals would be a strong signal, addressed to the Iranian authorities, to make it clear that having good economic and political relations with Tehran is not the same as giving carte blanche to kill its citizens when they exercise their right. peaceful to demonstrate ”, concludes Sadr.