On February 20th, the Council decided to impose additional sanctions on 2 entities and 32 individuals responsible for human rights abuses in Iran. These were the fifth round of sanctions imposed by the EU since October 2022; the new names and entities listed are now banned from traveling to the EU, had their assets frozen, and are prohibited from receiving any economic aid from EU members.
Among the individuals listed are:
- Mohammad Mehdi Esmaeili, the Iranian Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance
- Ali Fadavi, deputy IRGC commander
- Ramezan Sharif, IRGC spokesperson
- Farzin Karimi and Seyed Mojtaba Mostafavi, co-founders of Ravin Academy (a hacking and cybersecurity training center)
- Ahmad Naderi, Amirabadi Farahani, Vali Esmaeli, Zohreh Elahian, Seyyed Nezamoldin Mousavi, and Hossein Jalali, members of the Iranian Parliament supporting the violent crackdowns
- Various members of the Iranian judiciary and police
The two entities listed are:
- Police Science and Social Studies Institute, an LEF affiliate that produces anti-riot drones for police protests
- LEF Cooperation Foundation, a financing arm of LEF used to evade sanctions
Additionally, a large protest was organized in Brussels on February 20th to coincide with the Council’s meeting. It consisted of members from the Iranian diaspora in Europe (many of whom traveled from Sweden, Denmark, Germany, and France to protest), as well as non-Iranians who stood in solidarity. It was estimated that over 6,000 people attended. Protestors demanded that the EU classify the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization and denounced the repression of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s regime.