UK sanctions Iran’s “morality police”

In response to Iran’s violent crackdown on anti-government protesters, Britain on Monday sanctioned the “morality police” and several security officials.

These measures were taken in response to the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was detained by police in Tehran for allegedly violating Iran’s rigorous Islamic dress code, thousands of Iranians have taken to the streets in the last month to protest her death.

The UK’s Foreign Office said it was imposing asset freezes and travel bans on the “morality police in its entirety, as well as both its chief, Mohammed Rostami Cheshmeh Gachi, and the head of the Tehran division, Haj Ahmed Mirzaei.”

Gholamreza Soleimani, head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Basij force; Hassan Karami, commander of the NAJA special forces unit of the Iranian police; and Hossein Ashtari, commander-in-chief of the Iranian police, are also wanted.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said that the sanctions “send a clear message to the Iranian authorities—we will hold you accountable for your repression of women and girls, as well as the shocking violence you have inflicted on your own people.”

Across Iran, people are continuing to demonstrate against the death of Amini at the hands of the country’s morality police on September 16. The government maintains that Amini was not abused, but her family says her corpse displayed bruises and other signs of beating.

Image Credit: Aaron Chown/PA via AP