Justice for Iran (JFI) welcomes the extension of restrictive measures imposed by the European Union on Iranian perpetrators of human right violations, particularly the addition to its sanctions list of another eight Iranian officials and three entities, including seven individuals who played a pivotal role in killing hundreds of civilians during the nationwide protests in November 2019.
This is the first occasion since 2013 that the Council of the European Union has added new names to the list of targeted human rights sanctions. According to the Council’s decision made yesterday, the previous human rights sanctions including 87 individuals and one entity have also been extended.
The measures are an important step towards breaking the absolute impunity that perpetrators of human rights violations enjoy in Iran. However, regrettably, they are little and late; they fail to hold accountable some of the individuals and entities most responsible for grave human rights violations including in relation to the use of unlawful lethal force and arbitrary deprivation of life and liberty of unarmed demonstrators.
As outlined in JFI’s submission to the EU in February 2020, the National Security Council (NSC), headed by the Minister of Interior, issued the ‘Shoot to Kill’ order and oversaw the shutdown of the internet, which disconnected millions from the rest of the world.
The EU’s new sanctions includes seven individuals listed in JFI’s 2020 submission, but does not include Minister of Interior Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli, Minister of Intelligence Mahmoud Alavi, and other members of the NSC. It also fails to include the Police Special Unit and Basij forces, the key entities used in the suppression of demonstrators, nor does it include the Prisons Organisation as the body that oversees the prisons named, or the state-run Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), which broadcasted forced confessions of detainees.
JFI is also dismayed that the EU had suspended the inclusion in its sanctions list of any other Iranian official responsible for grave human rights violations for eight years and waited, in respect to the events of November 2019, almost one year and a half in order to sanction only seven individuals.
In the 2020 submission to the EU, and through engagements with the Council of the EU as well as with member states, JFI urged the EU to reaffirm their determination to continue to address human rights abuses in Iran, and to adopt restrictive measures against 35 individuals who were identified by JFI as amongst those responsible for violating the right to life of demonstrators and other civilians in November 2019.
Justice for Iran continues to call on the EU and the international community to take further effective steps in holding Iranian human rights violators accountable. Justice for Iran is working with the families of victims and eyewitnesses to identify perpetrators and provide evidence for international and regional monitoring and accountability mechanisms.
On 15 November 2019, a sharp and sudden rise in fuel prices resulted in spontaneous, mass demonstrations, in almost all provinces of Iran. JFI’s investigations confirmed that state security forces killed hundreds of peaceful protesters, including with live ammunition. In dozens of cities across the country, security and police forces injured thousands over the course of four days.