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Iran: who are the leaders of the repression sanctioned by the European Union?

After having, on September 25, deplored “the generalized and disproportionate use of force against non-violent demonstrators by the Iranian security forces”, as well as “the restriction of access to the Internet and the blocking of instant messaging”, the European Union unveiled, this Monday, October 17, a list of personalities who are now subject to sanctions. Eleven in number, these men are banned from entering the European Union and have their property and assets seized. Overview of the targeted profiles.

All persons sanctioned are principals. Particularly targeted by the demonstrators – and very violent in their repression – the vice police, responsible for enforcing a strict dress code for women, sees its leader targeted. The European Union blames mohammad rostami to lead an entity that “engages in sexual and gender-based violence, arbitrary arrest and detention, excessive violence and torture”. As leader, Rostami is judged to be “responsible for these acts. Another member of the morality police accused of the same misdeeds, Colonel Haj Ahmed Mirzaei has been the head of the vice branch since 2018. “By virtue of his function, he bears responsibility for serious human rights violations in Iran”, indicates the document. Likewise, Colonels Abbas Abdihead of law enforcement in Divandarreh prefecture, Salman Heidariresponsible for these same forces in Bukan, Mohammad Shalikarfrom those of Babor, and Sayd Ali Safarichief in Saqqez, see their names inscribed in black letters.

These members of the Army are joined by Mohammad-Hossein Sepehr, Commander of the Iranian Central Training Base of the Tehran Armed Forces General Staff. A member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, he oversees the “anti-protest” training of Iranian security forces, making him a mandatory target for sanctions. The vast majority of men sanctioned are therefore soldiers. The brigadier general Hossein Rahimi, head of Iranian security forces in Tehran since 2017, is held responsible for “the excessive use of violence by the security forces”, whose interventions have led to the death of many people. Those of the brigadier general second Ali Azadi are also singled out. Head of the Iranian security forces in Kurdistan, he came to lend a hand to the government, in particular by ordering to fire on the demonstrators.

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The Minister of Information targeted

In the political sphere, the European Union has decided to sanction Seyed Alireza Adyani, the head of the political-ideological bureau of Iranian law enforcement. It was he who said that the morality police had to behave “radically” and that the police force had to be “efficient”. Finally, the highest placed man on the list is called Issa Zarepour and has been Minister of Technology, Information and Communications since August 2021. The European Union notice for him says he “played a key role in the Iranian government’s decision to violate freedom of opinion and expression of Iranians by imposing restrictions on internet access”.


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