Canada has slapped new sanctions that target “Iranian propaganda” as protests against the regime near their fourth month.
In a news release on Monday, the federal government said two Iranian officials and three entities are “complicit” in the “brutal repression of brave Iranian voices.” Iran has been rocked by protests following the Sept. 16 death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who died while in the custody of Iran’s so-called morality police. She was being held for allegedly violating the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code.
“Despite condemnation from the international community regarding the regime’s gross and systematic human rights violations, the regime continues to crack down on demonstrations and deploy propaganda that serves as a pretext for its destabilizing activities both domestically and abroad,” the federal government said in the release.
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The individuals sanctioned Monday are Vahid Yaminpour and Mohsen Qomi.
Yaminpour, deputy minister of sports and youth, is also a state propaganda official who has worked for the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting Corp., a state-controlled media organization that answers to the supreme leader’s office and propagates the regime’s talking points, Ottawa alleged.
Meanwhile, Qomi is a senior regime insider who also acts as a deputy adviser for international affairs in the supreme leader’s office, and an adviser to the country’s supreme leader on international communications, the federal government said.
The organizations sanctioned are the 15 Khordad Foundation, an untaxed revolutionary foundation; Iran Newspaper, an official publication of Iran; and the Press Supervisory Board, an organ of Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance.
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Canadian officials said the latter is empowered by the Iranian regime’s Press Law to arbitrarily shut down news outlets and magazines should the board’s membership deem their published content to be harmful to the “bases of the Islamic Republic” or insulting to the supreme leader, senior members of the Shi’a clergy or public morals.
“Canada will continue to coordinate with its international partners to make sure that the Iranian regime answers for its gross and systematic human rights violations and actions that continue to threaten international peace and security,” Ottawa said in the release.
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Before Monday, Canada had imposed sanctions on 125 Iranian individuals and 186 Iranian entities, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the regime’s security, intelligence and economic apparatus.
Also on Monday, Iran‘s judiciary sentenced three more protesters to death on charges of “waging war on God,” defying growing international criticism over its fierce crackdown on demonstrators.
Iran hanged two other people on Saturday in its attempts to stamp out unrest, which has slowed since it began executions.
One of the biggest challenges to Iran’s leadership since the 1979 revolution, the protests have drawn support from many Iranians and challenged the Islamic Republic’s legitimacy by calling for the downfall of its rulers.
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Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Monday signalled the state has no intention of softening its position, saying that those who “set fire to public places have committed treason with no doubt.” Under Iranian law, treason is punishable by death.
Human rights activists see Iran’s crackdowns as an attempt to intimidate protesters and strike enough fear in the population to end the unrest.
Despite Iran doubling down on repression, small-scale protests persist in Tehran, Isfahan and several other cities.
— with files from Reuters
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