New Zealand will impose travel bans on members of the Iranian security forces connected to the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini and the violent response to subsequent protests, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced.
Amini died in custody in September after being detained by morality police in Tehran for allegedly not wearing her hijab correctly.
Her death has sparked months of protests against the conservative religious leadership, which recently announced that the morality police were being disbanded.
“What happened to Mahsa Amini is inexcusable. New Zealand continues to stand with the people of Iran, especially women and girls,” Ardern said in a statement.
“New Zealand will always advocate strongly for the right to peaceful protest and greater civil and political freedoms, and condemns the actions of the Iranian authorities in their brutal suppression of protesters simply advocating for basic universal rights.”
The initial ban affects 22 people. They will not be allowed to enter or transit New Zealand.
“The travel bans send a message that we will not tolerate the denial of basic human rights and the violent suppression of protests in Iran,” Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta said.
“New Zealand already has sanctions against Iranian individuals and companies under our UN sanctions, which involve asset freezes and export bans. Today we go further to target officials linked to the death of Mahsa Amini and the repression of protests that followed.
“We are imposing travel bans on those involved in the violent suppression of protests and human rights violations. They include members of the Morality Police, the Law Enforcement Command, and members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
“The individuals include Hossein Salami, Commander in Chief of the IRGC; Gholam-Reza Soleimani, Commander of the Basij; Hossein Ashtari, Commander of the Police (Law Enforcement Command); and Mohammed Rostami, head of the Morality Police.”
Mahuta said New Zealand continued to support UN efforts to investigate human rights violations in Iran.
“These travel bans are not the end of our sanctions. Additional individuals and further measures are under consideration,” she said.
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