‘I Commend their Bravery’: Foreign Secretary Recognises Bravery of Iranian People on Anniversary of Mahsa Amini Death

The Foreign Secretary has commended the bravery of Iranian women a year on from Mahsa Amini's death and announced coordinated sanctions on the regime.
September 15, 2023

Related Library Documents: 

  • Bravery of Iranian women commended by UK Foreign Secretary on anniversary of Mahsa Amini’s death as he underlines the UK’s commitment to standing with the Iranian people as they call for fundamental rights.
  • UK, US, Canada and Australia  announce coordinated sanctions on Iranian officials to mark anniversary.
  • UK sanctions focus on senior decision makers responsible for enforcing Iran’s mandatory hijab law, including the Minister for Culture and Islamic Guidance, the Mayor of Tehran and the Iranian Police spokesperson.

The Foreign Secretary has commended the bravery of the Iranian people a year on from the death of Mahsa Amini in the custody of the Morality Police.

Marking the anniversary tomorrow, the UK, US, Canada and Australia have imposed coordinated sanctions on Iranian officials and entities.

The UK’s sanctions focus on senior Iranian decision makers responsible for drafting and implementing Iran’s mandatory hijab legislation.

Iran’s existing legislation prohibits women and girls from choosing what they wear, with punishments for refusing to wear a hijab including time in prison and severe fines.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said:

"A year on from Mahsa Amini’s tragic death at the hands of Iran’s Morality Police, I commend the bravery of Iranian women as they continue to fight for fundamental freedoms."

"Today’s sanctions on those responsible for Iran’s oppressive laws send a clear message that the UK and our partners will continue to stand with Iranian women and call out the repression it is inflicting on its own people."

Today’s sanctions include:

  • 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.

The Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance is responsible for ensuring adherence to government dress codes within Iranian society. As examples, Esmaili declared that actresses who remove the hijab in public or social media can no longer continue their careers in acting, and that action would be taken against businesses whose female employees failed to adhere to mandatory hijab requirements.

The Police Spokesperson Al-Mahdi threatened that the regime will ‘deal firmly’ with those women who removed their hijab, including for example by impounding the cars of women caught driving without hijab.

The Morality Police’s activities reduced following the outbreak of protests after Mahsa Amini’s death and a raft of international sanctions, including by the UK, but earlier this year its forces have reappeared as part of a renewed crackdown on women in Iran. This has included specific punishments against women for failing to wear the hijab, including being prevented from using the Tehran Metro, and female actors banned from working by the Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance.

The UK has imposed sanctions on more than 350 Iranian officials and entities, including the Prosecutor General and the IRGC in its entirety, and announced its intention to create a new sanctions regime earlier this year to target decision makers in Iran for hostile activities in the UK and around the world. The UK has previously sanctioned the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution, responsible for women’s dress codes in Iran.

Since Mahsa Amini’s death, the Iranian regime has been increasingly isolated by the international community, and faced growing sanctions’ pressure in response to serious human rights violations against its own people, and 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 information

  • The UK has also today sanctioned Arvan Cloud, an internet cloud service provider which is responsible for providing technology used to repress the Iranian people. Arvan Cloud is a key partner of Iran’s Information and Communications Technology Ministry and is supporting the development of a countrywide intranet that is being used to disconnect the Iranian people from the global internet.