In 2012, the U.S. Congress passed legislation that would punish Russian officials involved in the imprisonment, torture, and death of the anti-corruption activist Sergei Magnitsky. The law, which was expanded in 2016 so that it could be applied in places besides Russia, allows the government to target individuals, rather than whole economies, with sanctions and the freezing of assets. Other countries have since followed suit, and Naomi Levin urges them to use these legal tool against Iran:
This month, the Australian parliament passed amendments that will allow its government to implement Magnitsky-style sanctions on human-rights abusers. The Australian academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert, who was held hostage by Iran for 26 months, has said it would be a “no-brainer” to impose sanctions on the “Iranian government, judiciary, and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps [IRGC] officials who kidnap Australian citizens.”
Magnitsky-style laws have been passed by the European Union, Canada, and the UK.
In April of this year, the European Union imposed sanctions on eight Iranian militia commanders and police chiefs, including the head of the IRGC, Hossein Salami. Those sanctioned were involved in a brutal crackdown of Iranian protesters in 2019 that, Reuters reported, left 1,500 demonstrators dead in a period of just two weeks. In October this year, the United States issued sanctions against Iranian individuals—and companies in this case—responsible for providing military drones to Iran-backed terrorist groups, including Hizballah and Hamas.