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Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced New Zealand will impose travel bans on members of the Iranian security forces connected to the death of 22-year old Iranian woman Mahsa Amini and the violent response to subsequent protests.
“What happened to Mahsa Amini is inexcusable, New Zealand continues to stand with the people of Iran, especially women and girls,” says Jacinda Ardern.
“New Zealand will always advocate strongly for the right to peaceful protest and greater civil and political freedoms, and condemns the actions of the Iranian authorities in their brutal suppression of protestors simply advocating for basic universal rights.
“We will continue to respond alongside international partners to condemn the violence, seek increased scrutiny of events in Iran, back an investigation by an independent outside body, and call on Iranian authorities to de-escalate their response and commute all death sentences,” Jacinda Ardern said.
The initial tranche of travel bans affects 22 people, and more may follow. They will not be allowed to enter or transit New Zealand.
“The travel bans send a message that we will not tolerate the denial of basic human rights and the violent suppression of protests in Iran,” Nanaia Mahuta said.
“New Zealand already has sanctions against Iranian individuals and companies under our UN sanctions, which involve asset freezes and export bans. Today we go further to target officials linked to the death of Mahsa Amini and the repression of protests that followed.
“We are imposing travel bans on those involved in the violent suppression of protests and human rights violations. They include members of the Morality Police, the Law Enforcement Command, and members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
“The individuals include: Hossein Salami, Commander in Chief of the IRGC; Gholam-Reza Soleimani, Commander of the Basij; Hossein Ashtari, Commander of the Police (Law Enforcement Command); and Mohammed Rostami, head of the Morality Police.
“We continue to explore other measures to send a clear signal that the repressive approach to its own population places Iran well outside globally accepted human rights values.
“We also supported efforts at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, where we co-sponsored a resolution for a fact-finding mission to investigate human rights violations. At the UN Security Council in New York we called for Iran to deal with the grievances of its people; and as part of a group of women foreign ministers we called for protection of the right to protest.
“In addition to multilateral efforts, we have also taken direct measures to reset our relationship with Iran, including suspending our Human Rights Dialogue indefinitely, and urging New Zealand travellers in Iran to leave.
“We also supported international initiatives to uphold media freedom and condemn internet shutdowns in Iran. These travel bans are not the end of our sanctions. Additional individuals and further measures are under consideration,” Nanaia Mahuta said.