The European Union has been increasing pressure on the Iranian regime by imposing sanctions since October on leaders of the country responsible for human rights violations, said Germany’s foreign minister on Monday, adding that the next step is to list the country’s infamous Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organisation.
“We are further increasing the pressure on Iran – especially on the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Since October, we have imposed individual sanctions on dozens of their leaders – those responsible for murder, torture & arbitrariness. Frozen their money, made their business more difficult & restricted freedom of movement,” Annalena Baerbock wrote on Twitter.
“Together with EU partners, we have taken the initiative to make new listings at the next Foreign Affairs Council. That’s not enough for us: Listing the Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organisation is politically important and sensible,” she added in a subsequent tweet.
The politician said some legal hurdles should be overcome to list the IRGC as a terrorist organisation and that they had applied to the EU to clarify the requirements for such an attempt.
Despite growing international criticism and sanctions, Iran announced on Monday that it sentenced three other people to death sentence on charges of “waging war on God” for joining protests that have been sweeping the country since late September.
At least four people have been hanged, while according to Amnesty International, the Iranian authorities are seeking the death penalty for at least 26 others for taking part in the protests, sparked by the death of a 22-year old Kurdish woman after being detained by the country’s religious police.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk said the executions of the Iranian regime violated international human rights law.
“The weaponisation of criminal procedures to punish people for exercising their basic rights – such as those participating in or organising demonstrations – amounts to state sanctioned killing,” Turk said in a statement.
In addition to executions, there are numerous violations of due process and fair trial in the cases, including the application of vaguely worded criminal provisions, denial of access to a lawyer of choice, forced confession under torture and denial of a meaningful right of appeal, the commissioner said.
The Basij forces, affiliated with the IRGC, have been leading the brutal crackdown against protesters, 19,290 of whom have been arrested and 111 of whom are believed to be “under the impending threat of a death sentence”, having been convicted of, or charged with, capital offences, the BBC reported.
Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the daughter of Iran’s former president, has also been arrested in September for inciting riots. Her lawyer announced on Tuesday that she has been sentenced to five years in prison, adding that the sentence is not final.