Sanctions Iran - Human Rights
Description of the sanctions
1. Travel restrictions
A prohibition on entry into or transit through the EU applies to persons responsible for grave human rights violations in Iran. Those subject to the restrictive measures are listed in the annexes to the relevant Council decisions (see under 'Relevant documents').
2. Freezing of assets
All funds and economic resources belonging to persons or entities responsible for serious human rights violations in Iran shall be frozen. No funds or economic resources may be made available for the benefit of such persons or entities. The persons and entities subject to the restrictive measures are listed in the annexes to the relevant Council regulations and, regarding persons, are the same as those subject to travel restrictions (see under 'Relevant documents').
3. Prohibition on the export of equipment which might be used for internal repression
It is prohibited to sell, export, etc. to Iran certain products which might be used for internal repression. The products covered by this prohibition are listed in the annex to the relevant Council Regulation (see under 'Relevant documents'). Corresponding prohibitions apply for technical and financial assistance linked to such equipment. Exemptions may be granted for certain equipment intended solely for the protection of personnel of the EU and its Member States in Iran.
4. Prohibition on exports of certain monitoring equipment
It is prohibited to sell, export, etc. equipment, technology or software which might be used for monitoring or interception of the internet or telecommunications to persons and entities in Iran, or for use in Iran, without prior authorisation from a national competent authority. The products covered by this prohibition are listed in the annex to the relevant Council Regulation (see under 'Relevant documents'). Licences for export etc. should not be granted if it can be reasonably assumed that the equipment will be used by the Iranian regime for monitoring or interception of the internet or telecommunications in Iran. Corresponding prohibitions and permit requirements apply to services in connection with the products in question.
Relevant EU documents
The sanctions are regulated in Council Decision 2011/235/CFSP of 12 April 2011, which has been supplemented by Council Implementing Decision 2011/670/CFSP and Council Decisions 2012/168/CFSP, 2012/810/CFSP, 2013/124/CFSP, 2014/205/CFSP, 2015/555/CFSP and Council Decision 2016/565/CFSP. The EU law aspects of the decisions are regulated in Council Regulation (EU) No 359/2011 as supplemented by Council Implementing Regulation (EU) No 1002/2011, Council Regulations (EU) No 264/2012 and No 1245/2012, Council Implementing Regulation (EU) No 206/2013, Council Implementing Regulation (EU) No 371/2014, Council Implementing Regulation (EU) No 2015/548 and Council Implementing Regulation (EU) No 2016/556. The persons and products covered by the sanctions described are listed in the annexes to the abovementioned decisions and regulations. The sanctions have been regularly extended, most recently up to 13 April 2018 (Council Decision 2017/689/CFSP and Council och rådets genomförandeförordning (EU) 2017/685.
Competent Swedish authorities
The Swedish Migration Agency and Sweden's missions abroad are responsible for applying the travel restrictions.
Försäkringskassan (the Swedish Social Insurance Agency) may grant exemptions from the freezing of assets of natural persons, but not for routine administration (see Finansinspektionen).
The National Board of Trade may grant exemptions from the freezing of assets of legal persons and entities, but not for routine administration (see Finansinspektionen).
The Inspectorate of Strategic Products processes applications for licences to export monitoring equipment.
Finansinspektionen (the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority) receives information about frozen accounts and may grant exemptions from the freezing of assets for routine administration.
Links to the relevant authorities are available below.
Background to the sanctions
The EU has highlighted and expressed its concern at the deteriorating human rights situation in Iran, and in particular the decline that has taken place since the presidential elections in June 2009. The number of executions has increased sharply, cruel punishments have been imposed and in many cases, due process has been very inadequate. Representatives of the Iranian opposition, peaceful demonstrators, journalists, human rights defenders and others are repressed, harassed and, in some cases, imprisoned for exercising or defending their fundamental rights. The situation is also extremely serious for certain minority groups, such as the Bahá’í community.
In light of this, the Council of the European Union decided on 12 April 2011 to introduce restrictive measures (sanctions) against persons responsible for grave human rights violations in Iran and persons or entities associated with them. The main target group is senior officials in the Iranian administration and certain political representatives. The sanctions particularly target persons complicit in or responsible for directing or carrying out such violations in the repression of peaceful demonstrators, journalists, human rights defenders, students or others who speak up in defence of their fundamental rights, including freedom of expression. The sanctions also target persons complicit in or responsible for directing or carrying out grave violations of the right to due process, torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, or the indiscriminate, excessive and increasing application of the death penalty, including public executions, stoning, hangings or executions of juvenile offenders in contravention of Iran’s international human rights obligations. These measures were taken with the aim of improving respect for human rights in Iran.
A new EU sanctions regime was thus imposed against Iran alongside the existing sanctions regime initiated by the UN in response to Iran’s nuclear and missile technology programmes.
In addition to the measures targeting individuals, the EU has imposed a ban on exports to Iran of equipment which might be used for internal repression and a prohibition on supplying the Iranian regime with equipment which might be used for monitoring or interception of the internet or telecommunications in Iran. Moreover, additional individuals have been added to the list of persons and entities subject to restrictive measures. In particular, a large number of new sanctions have been adopted in response to Iran’s brutal and violent treatment of the protests that have been going on in the country since September 2022.