Western Countries Should Apply Human-Rights Sanctions to Iran

Dec. 14 2021

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.

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Read more at Australia/Israel Review

More about: Australia, Human Rights, Iran, Iran sanctions, U.S. Foreign policy

How European Fecklessness Encourages the Islamic Republic’s Assassination Campaign

In September, Cypriot police narrowly foiled a plot by an Iranian agent to murder five Jewish businessman. This was but one of roughly a dozen similar operations that Tehran has conducted in Europe since 2015—on both Israeli or Jewish and American targets—which have left three dead. Matthew Karnitschnig traces the use of assassination as a strategic tool to the very beginning of the Islamic Republic, and explains its appeal:

In the West, assassination remains a last resort (think Osama bin Laden); in authoritarian states, it’s the first (who can forget the 2017 assassination by nerve agent of Kim Jong-nam, the playboy half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, upon his arrival in Kuala Lumpur?). For rogue states, even if the murder plots are thwarted, the regimes still win by instilling fear in their enemies’ hearts and minds. That helps explain the recent frequency. Over the course of a few months last year, Iran undertook a flurry of attacks from Latin America to Africa.

Whether such operations succeed or not, the countries behind them can be sure of one thing: they won’t be made to pay for trying. Over the years, the Russian and Iranian regimes have eliminated countless dissidents, traitors, and assorted other enemies (real and perceived) on the streets of Paris, Berlin, and even Washington, often in broad daylight. Others have been quietly abducted and sent home, where they faced sham trials and were then hanged for treason.

While there’s no shortage of criticism in the West in the wake of these crimes, there are rarely real consequences. That’s especially true in Europe, where leaders have looked the other way in the face of a variety of abuses in the hopes of reviving a deal to rein in Tehran’s nuclear-weapons program and renewing business ties.

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Read more at Politico

More about: Europe, Iran, Israeli Security, Terrorism