The Foreign Secretary has announced plans for a new sanctions regime to hold Iran to account for its hostile and destabilising behaviour around the world.
- Foreign Secretary announces plans for a new Iran sanctions regime, which will give the UK greater powers to target decision makers in Iran for hostile activities in the UK and around the world
- new sanctions designations to be announced on individuals and organisations responsible for human rights violations in Iran
- announcements come as the UK drives international condemnation of Iran’s behaviour at the UN Human Rights Council and UN Security Council this week
The Foreign Secretary has today outlined new action to hold Iran to account for the regime’s threats to the UK and our partners, including a new sanctions regime which will give the UK greater powers to target Iran’s key decision makers.
Iran has increased its efforts to kill or kidnap individuals perceived to be enemies of the regime outside of Iran, including in the UK. Since the start of 2022, the UK has responded to more than 15 credible threats to kill or kidnap British or UK-based individuals by the Iranian regime.
The regime has publicly called for the killing or capture of these individuals and in some cases detained and harassed the individual’s families in Iran. The Iranian intelligence services have developed close relationships with organised criminal gangs in UK and across Europe to expand the capability of its networks.
The UK will not tolerate such threats. The Foreign Secretary is announcing today our intention to create a new sanctions regime which will give the UK greater powers to target Iran’s key decision makers and those doing their bidding.
The regime will significantly expand the UK’s sanctions powers by creating new criteria under which individuals and entities can be sanctioned, including:
- the Iranian regime’s activities undermining peace, stability and security in the Middle East and internationally
- the use and spread of weapons or weapons technologies from Iran
- the Iranian regime’s undermining of democracy, respect for the rule of law and good governance
- other hostile activities towards the UK and our partners emanating from the Iranian regime, including threats to our people, property, or security
The announcement comes as the UK drives international condemnation of Iran’s behaviour at the UN this week. Yesterday, the UK co-signed a statement calling out the regime for the significant rise in executions over the last year.
Later today in New York, the UK will lead international opposition to Iran’s weapons proliferation and nuclear escalation at the UN Security Council as part of the UK’s Presidency in July. The UK has handed over extensive evidence to UNSC members demonstrating the Iranian regime continues to send weapons to the Houthis in Yemen and to Russia for use in Ukraine, in violation of UNSC restrictions. The UK and our partners will condemn this malign behaviour in the presence of the Iranian Permanent Representative to the UN, who is anticipated to attend the event.
Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said:
The Iranian regime is oppressing its own people, exporting bloodshed in Ukraine and the Middle East, and threatening to kill and kidnap on UK soil.
Today the UK has sent a clear message to the regime – we will not tolerate this malign behaviour and we will hold you to account.
Our new sanctions regime will help to ensure there can be no hiding place for those who seek to do us harm.
The UK is also announcing a raft of new sanctions under the FCDO’s existing Iran Human Rights sanctions regime, which enables the designation of individuals and entities responsible for serious human rights violations in Iran.
The list of 13 individuals and entities responsible for human rights abuses includes prison governors overseeing torture and inhumane treatment, organisations charged with collecting private information of regime opponents and individuals leading the repression of women through Iran’s compulsory hijab laws. Examples of those now subject to asset freezes and travel bans are:
- Heidar Pasandideh (Governor of Sanandaj prison): has overseen regular torture and abuse within the prison. A prisoner reportedly died in Sanandaj after being severely beaten and denied medical treatment
- IRGC Cyber Defence Command (CDC): the CDC monitors the emails, websites and online activities of regime opponents and sends evidence to other parts of the IRGC to investigate
- The Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution (SCCR): the SCCR set Iran’s policies on cultural and educational matters, including wear of the hijab, which is implemented by the Morality Police who were responsible for beating Mahsa Amini before her death in custody in September 2022
View the full UK Sanctions List.
- the National Security Bill will make available powers for the UK government to use against the Iranian regime and those undertaking malign activity on its behalf
- since the start of 2022, the UK has responded to 15 credible threats since to kill or kidnap British or UK-based individuals by the Iranian regime. The regime has publicly called for the killing or capture of these organisation and in some cases detained and harassed the individual’s families in Iran
- Iranian threats to the UK and our partners are not a new phenomenon. In January 2019, the UK and European partners raised our concern over Iranian hostile activities and plots in Europe, including an attempted bombing in France in 2018, 2 assassinations in the Netherlands and an unsuccessful assassination plot in Denmark
- the UK has more than 350 sanctions designations in place on Iranian individuals and entities in response to the regime’s human rights violations and malign influence internationally. As an example, the UK, US and the EU announced coordinated sanctions on IRGC officials on 24 April for their role in violently suppressing protests in Iran
- we expect to bring the necessary legislation to parliament later in the year. This will be the UK’s first new wholly geographical autonomous sanctions regime under the Sanctions and Anti Money Laundering Act (2018)
The full list of those sanctioned is:
- Murad Fathi, Director-General of Kurdistan Province Prisons
- Mohammed Hossein Khosravi, Director-General of Sistan and Baluchestan Province Prisons and former warden of Zahedan Prison
- Heidar Pasandideh, Sanandaj Central Prison governor
- Morteza Piri, Zahedan Prison governor
- Abdol Hossein Khosrow Panah, Secretary of the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution
- Soghra Khodadadi Taghanaki, Governor of Qarchak Women’s Prison
- Seyyed Mohammad Amin Aghamiri, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme Council for Cyber Space
- Moslem Moein, Head of the Basij Cyber Command
- Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution (SCCR), The SCCR is responsible for Iran’s general policies on cultural issues, including women’s dress code. Responsible for the creation of Iran’s Morality Police, which implements the policies and agenda created by the SCCR
- Supreme Council for Cyber Space, The Supreme Council for Cyberspace is considered Iran’s top internet policy making body. Reportedly dominated by security agencies and with no public oversight, The Supreme Council of Cyberspace directs the filtering of the internet in Iran and determines which websites should be blocked
- Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Cyber Defence Command, the cyber intelligence organisation of the IRGC. Its role includes the monitoring and prosecuting of cybercrimes and “tracking insult or defamation of revolutionary values”
- Centre to Investigate Organised Crimes, has been involved in cyber operations targeting political dissidents inside Iran, resulting in the arrest of dozens of cyber activists and web administrators. Has an estimated 45,000 personnel whose main task is to monitor and collect information on people opposing the Iranian government
- Ravin Academy, trains and identifies recruits for the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS) and assists MOIS with cyber operations