UK sanctions Iranian officials ahead of Mahsa Amini death anniversary

A newspaper with a cover picture of Mahsa Amini, a woman who died after being arrested by the Islamic republic's "morality police" is seen in Tehran, Iran September 18, 2022
Reuters file photo

The UK government on Friday announced sanctions targeting several Iranian officials including the culture minister and the mayor of Tehran on the eve of the first anniversary of the death of Mahsa Amini.

The UK's Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) said the new measures "focus on senior Iranian decision makers responsible for drafting and implementing Iran's mandatory hijab legislation".

The sanctions include Iran's minister of culture and Islamic guidance Mohammad Mehdi Esmaili, his deputy Mohammad Hashemi, Tehran mayor Alireza Zakani and Iranian police spokesman Saeed Montazer Al-Mahdi.

"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," UK foreign minister James Cleverly said.

"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," he added.

The FCDO said the new measures are part of coordinated sanctions of Britain, Canada, Australia and the United States, marking the anniversary of Amini's death.

Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurd, died on September 16 last year after her arrest in Tehran for an alleged breach of the Islamic republic's strict dress code for women.

Her death triggered months of nationwide demonstrations under the slogan "Woman, Life, Freedom".