Iran sanctions UK in tit-for-tat exchange over Mahsa Amini death

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By Joshua Askew
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks in a meeting with a group of students in Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2022.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks in a meeting with a group of students in Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2022.   -   Copyright  AP/AP   -  

Iran blacklisted several UK organisations and individuals on Wednesday, days after London slapped sanctions on Tehran in a tit-for-tat exchange. 

The Iranian Foreign Ministry claimed the sanctions were in response to the UK's "deliberate actions in support of terrorism, incitement of violence and human rights violations". 

The move comes after London sanctioned the Iranian morality police last week over the death of Mahsa Amini, which has sparked the most significant wave of unrest in Iran's recent history

16 UK institutions and individuals appear on Tehran's list of sanctions, which involve visa bans and the "seizure of their property and assets" in Iran.

BBC Persian, the UK intelligence organisation Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), and Conservative politicians Stephen Crabb and Tom Tugendhat are among those sanctioned. 

"The listed natural and legal persons have, among other things, carried out activities that have led to unrest, violence and terrorist acts against the Iranian nation," the Iranian Foreign Ministery said on Telegram. 

Unrest has gripped Iran since the death of Mahsa Amini on 16 September. 

The 22-year Kurdish woman died three days after she was arrested by officers for not allegedly wearing her headscarf properly, which is mandated by Iranian law. 

Iranian security forces have killed at least 224 people, including 29 children, and detained 6,000 more during the anti-government demonstrations that followed, according to the US-based Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA). 

On 10 October, the UK sanctioned Iran's political and security officials, alongside the so-called morality police, who enforce strict policies around dress codes and social behaviour, accusing them of suppressing protestors.

"This sanctions regime is aimed at encouraging the government of Iran to comply with international human rights law and respect human rights," wrote the UK government on its website, adding that sanctions would freeze the assets of those identified "as being responsible for serious human rights violations" in Iran.  

The United States, Canada and the European Union have also imposed sanctions on Iran.