The European Union imposed sanctions on eight Iranian militia commanders and senior police officers including the head of the Revolutionary Guards, Hossein Salami, over their involvement in the brutal suppression of protests against the regime that took place in the country at the end of 2019.
Reuters reported that the sanctions, including travel bans and the freezing of assets, are the first imposed by the EU on Iran over violation of human rights since 2013, in accordance with the European policy to avoid angering Iran in order to safeguard the nuclear agreement. The EU also hit three prisons, where arrested citizens were tortured, with asset freezes.
According to the UN, no fewer than about 300 people were killed in the protests that broke out in November 2019, but Reuters reported that according to internal information provided to it by the Iranian Interior Ministry, about 1,500 were killed. A spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, Saeed Khatibzadeh, rejected the European decision and said that "In response, Iran suspends comprehensive talks with the EU, including human rights talks and all cooperation resulting from these talks, especially in the areas of terrorism, drugs and refugees."
Last month, the Biden administration imposed its first sanctions on Iran by placing two interrogators of the Revolutionary Guards on the American blacklist after they were accused by the State Department of acts of torture and other major violations of human rights of political prisoners and people arrested during the protests.