Sanctioned Iran cleric hits out at EU
December 17, 2022 08:52 AM
Ultra-conservative Iranian cleric Ahmad Khatami lashed out at the European Union on Friday after the bloc slapped him with sanctions linked to protests triggered by the death in custody of Mahsa Amini.
Iran has witnessed waves of protests since the September 16 death of Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurd, after her arrest in Tehran for an alleged breach of the Islamic republic's dress code for women.
Officials in the country say hundreds of people have been killed in the unrest, which the authorities call "riots", including dozens of security personnel, while thousands have been arrested.
The EU on Monday announced sanctions targeting Khatami as well as state broadcaster IRIB, army chief Abdolrahim Mousavi and commanders from Iran's Revolutionary Guards over what it called "repression against protesters".
Khatami was sanctioned for allegedly inciting violence against protesters, including demanding the death penalty.
During a Friday sermon in Tehran, the cleric said the EU had a "black" human rights record, state news agency IRNA reported.
The EU "is on the top of the list of human rights violators", Khatami charged.
In recent years "the European Union has acted as an American colony and has done whatever the United States has asked," he said, according to IRNA.
The Iranian foreign ministry on Thursday condemned the EU measures, branding them "unacceptable and groundless".
Iranian courts have sentenced 11 people to death in connection with the demonstrations, and two people have been executed this month.
London-based rights group Amnesty International said on Friday that at least 26 people are at risk of execution in connection with the protests.