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Europe targets senior Iranian officials over protest crackdown

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union on Monday imposed sanctions on Iran’s interior minister and several senior police and military officials over their alleged roles in the security crackdown against massive anti-government protests.

Iranian women — and some men — have been protesting the government’s severe restrictions on their daily lives since late September after the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini following her arrest for allegedly violating the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code.

“The EU strongly condemns the unacceptable violent crackdown of protesters. We stand with the Iranian people and support their right to protest peacefully and voice their demands and views freely,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said, after the bloc’s foreign ministers endorsed the sanctions.

The move will see asset freezes and travel bans imposed on 29 Iranian officials, including Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi, who the EU says is “responsible for serious human rights violations in Iran” due to police actions during the protests.

The EU also targeted Iranian state television broadcaster Press TV, saying that it was “responsible for producing and broadcasting the forced confessions of detainees” taken into custody.

In what appeared to be a coordinated move, Britain also said that Iranian Communications Minister Issa Zarepour and several local law enforcement and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps officials would face similar restrictions in the UK for their role in the protest crackdown.

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