Britain imposes new Iranian sanctions over 'brutal repression'

LONDON, Jan 23 (Reuters) - Britain sanctioned more Iranian individuals and entities on Monday over the country's "brutal repression" of its people, including a crackdown on anti-government protests and the recent execution of British-Iranian dual national Alireza Akbari.

The sanctions included an asset freeze on Iranian deputy prosecutor general Ahmad Fazelian, who the British foreign office said was responsible for an unfair judicial system that used the death penalty for political purposes.

"Those sanctioned today, from the judicial figures using the death penalty for political ends to the thugs beating protestors on the streets, are at the heart of the regime’s brutal repression of the Iranian people," British foreign minister James Cleverly said in a statement.

"The UK and our partners have sent a clear message through these sanctions that there will be no hiding place for those guilty of the worst human rights violations."

The European Union also introduced new sanctions against Iran on Monday for a "brutal and disproportionate use of force" against protesters.

Widespread anti-government demonstrations erupted in Iran in September after the death in custody of Kurdish Iranian woman Mahsa Amini, who had been detained by morality police enforcing the Islamic Republic's mandatory dress code for women.

Others sanctioned by Britain on Monday include Kiyumars Heidari, commander in chief of Iran's ground forces; Hossein Nejat, deputy commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC); and the Basij Resistance Force and its deputy commander, Salar Abnoush.

The IRGC has an estimated 125,000-strong military with army, navy and air units, and commands the Basij religious militia often used in crackdowns.

The Basij Cooperative Foundation, linked to the Basij militia, and Qasem Rezaei, deputy commander of Iran's law enforcement forces, were also sanctioned.

Britain has now imposed 50 new sanctions against Iran since Amini's death, the foreign office said.

Reporting by Kylie MacLellan and Sachin Ravikumar; Editing by Paul Sandle and Bernadette Baum

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