|EU targets Iranian judges, media bosses with sanctions||
TEHRAN – The European Union imposed sanctions on Tuesday on an Iranian police unit monitoring the Internet as well as on several judges and media bosses over alleged human rights violations in the country, Reuters reported.
The sanctions are separate from measures against Tehran over its nuclear program, which the West claims has a covert military dimension. Iran insists its nuclear program is entirely peaceful.
The move brings to nearly 90 the number of people targeted by EU asset freezes and visa bans over concerns about human rights in Iran.
Two judges are included in the list.
Mohammad Sarafraz, the head of both IRIB, Iran’s state broadcaster, and Press TV, the state English-language television news channel, was listed over his alleged cooperation with security services and prosecutors to broadcast confessions of detainees. Press TV’s newsroom director was also similarly listed.
In response to the case of Sattar Beheshti, an Iranian blogger who died in custody in November 2012, the European Union targeted the head of the Iranian government’s organization in charge of fighting cyber crime, Abdolsamad Khoramabadi.
The European Union’s decision to impose the new sanctions was based on a February report of Ahmed Shaheed, the UN special rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iran, in which he voiced concern at what he called an apparent rise in the frequency and gravity of abuses in Iran and claimed that the Islamic Republic had failed to investigate “widespread, systemic, and systematic violations of human rights.”
Iran has accused the UN special rapporteur of bias.
On March 5, the Iranian Judiciary’s Human Rights Committee dismissed Shaheed’s report, saying it exemplified abuse of the United Nations mechanisms.
The Human Rights Committee said that the report was “illegal” and “not based on the realities,” adding that it was meant to exert pressure on the country.
The committee also defended Iran’s human rights record and called the Islamic Republic a democratic country.
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