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Iran sanctions British organizations and individuals

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Tehran on Wednesday blacklisted several British institutions and individuals after London sanctioned Iranian vice police amid protests over the death of Mahsa Amini, a Foreign Office statement said.

Among the seven institutions listed are Britain’s National Cyber ​​Security Center and the Government Communications Headquarters intelligence organization known as GCHQ.

Tehran said their actions had “led to riots, violence and terrorist acts against the Iranian nation”.

Iran has been rocked by protests since the 22-year-old died on September 16, three days after she was arrested by vice squad in Tehran for allegedly breaking the country’s strict dress code for women.

Street violence left dozens dead, mostly among protesters but also among security forces, and hundreds of protesters were arrested.

The 16 organizations and individuals were blacklisted for “their deliberate actions to support terrorism and terrorist groups, promote and incite terrorism, spread violence and hatred, and violate human rights. man,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

BBC Persian and Iran International, two Persian-language channels based in the UK and considered “hostile” by the Islamic republic, have also been blacklisted.

The nine people listed are Tory MPs Thomas Tugendhat, who is also Minister of State for Security, and Bob Blackman.

Sanctions include a visa ban as well as the seizure of any “goods and assets” in Iran.

The United States, Britain and Canada have already announced sanctions against Iran for rights violations.

London targeted “morality police” and security officials on October 10.

The European Union on Monday imposed sanctions on 11 individuals and four Iranian entities for their handling of the month-long protests.

Elnaz Rekabi made global headlines after competing at the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) Asian Championships in Seoul with her hair tied back in a ponytail rather than a hijab.

US says ‘world will watch’ Iran’s treatment of exposed climber

The United States on Wednesday criticized the Iranian government’s treatment of mountaineer Elnaz Rekabi, who competed abroad without a headscarf, and warned the world was watching.

“The Iranian regime and its leaders have a long history of abusing women’s rights and violating their freedom of expression, including through threats, intimidation and violence,” the spokesperson said. State Department Vedant Patel to reporters in Washington.

“Reports of intimidation and threats against Elnaz Rekabi seem to be the latest inexcusable example of such tactics. The world and the people of Iran will watch how she is treated,” he said.

Rekabi competed in South Korea without wearing a headscarf, which is mandatory in the clerical state and the target of nationwide protests following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was arrested by the notorious “morals police”.

Rekabi was flown back to Iran and, in an Instagram post and comments at the airport, apologized and said her headscarf accidentally slipped off.

Activists fear his comments were made under duress and dozens of supporters gathered outside the airport to cheer him on, some chanting “Elnaz is a hero”.

Issa Zarepour, Iranian Minister of Telecommunications

Issa Zarepour, Iranian Minister of Telecommunications

Telecommunications Minister Says Iran Will Criminalize Selling VPNs

Iran plans to criminalize the sale of virtual private networks (VPNs) used to circumvent internet restrictions, a minister said on Wednesday, amid protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini.

The Islamic republic has imposed drastic restrictions on internet access as it grapples with protests that erupted after the 22-year-old died after she was arrested for allegedly violating the country’s strict dress code for women.

“The sale of anti-filtering tools is not allowed, but unfortunately it has not been criminalized. Efforts are being made to criminalize this problem,” Telecommunications Minister Issa Zarepour said.

“It’s not in the area of ​​my duties and naturally the relevant institutions should follow this,” he told state television after a cabinet meeting in Tehran.

Iranian media reported last year that lawmakers were working on a bill that could further restrict internet access.

The bill calls for “organizing social media” and banning VPN software widely used to circumvent internet restrictions and blocks imposed on social media platforms, the Etemad diary wrote in June 2021.

The text also provides for prison terms for anyone found guilty of violating the terms of the bill if it becomes law, according to the reformist daily.

Internet users had expressed concern about the bill proposed by certain conservative lawmakers, who have had a majority in Parliament since 2020.

Recently imposed restrictions include blocking access to Instagram and WhatsApp – so far the last unfiltered social media services, in addition to cracking down on apps like the Google Play Store, as well as VPNs.

Zarepour warned Iranians against using anti-filtering software as it risks causing “vulnerabilities” on devices.

“Using the so-called anti-filtering or VPN tools for devices such as laptops, computers and cell phones will definitely lead to serious vulnerabilities as it makes it easier for hackers to gain access,” he said. declared.

“As an expert, I recommend to the dear people not to use these tools as much as possible,” he added.

Zarepour was hit with sanctions for overseeing internet restrictions by the European Union on Monday at a meeting of foreign ministers in Luxembourg.