UK Sanctions Iran for Support for Hamas in Coordination with the US

“The behaviour of the Iranian regime poses an unacceptable threat to the UK and our partners,” Foreign Secretary David Cameron said in announcing the sanctions.
Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (Photo: UK government)
Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (Photo: UK government)

WASHINGTON DC, United States (Kurdistan 24) – This week, the United States and United Kingdom jointly announced sanctions on Iran for its support of Hamas and other terrorist activities.

The U.S. has long imposed sanctions on Iranian individuals and entities, but for the British government, such action is relatively new. But on Thursday, the UK’s Foreign Office announced that a new Iran sanctions regime had taken effect as of that day. 

The new regime gives the British government “extensive new powers to disrupt Iran’s hostile activities in the UK and around the world,” the Foreign Office said in a statement announcing the sanctions.

The UK’s sanctions “target Iran’s decision makers and those doing its bidding,” the Foreign Office statement affirmed, as it explained that Iran’s drone program and Iranian shipping were particular targets of the new sanctions.

Iran supplies Russia with drones for use in its war against Ukraine. It also provides drones to militias in Iraq, which the militias use to attack bases hosting troops of the anti-ISIS Coalition, including in the Kurdistan Region. Indeed, slightly over a week ago, on Dec. 8, Erbil International Airport, which hosts troops from the anti-ISIS Coalition, as well as serving civilian air travel, was targeted by five drone, launched by Iranian-backed militias in Iraq.

Read More: U.S. Cites Iran, as Militias Attack Numerous Sites in the Kurdistan Region, Iraq, and Syria

“The behaviour of the Iranian regime poses an unacceptable threat to the UK and our partners,” Foreign Secretary David Cameron said in announcing the sanctions.

Iran “continues to threaten people on UK soil and uses its influence to destabilize the Middle East through is support to armed groups, including Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad,” Cameron added, as he affirmed, “Today’s designations send a clear message to the regime: we will hold you to account for your actions.”

Sanctioned Individuals and Entities

The new U.S. sanctions target only one individual: Majid Zaree, who was also sanctioned by the UK, which identified him as a member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC-QF) Palestine Branch.

The other British sanctions target the IRGC-QF’s Palestine Branch, as well as six more individuals, almost all of whom are linked to the Palestine Branch of the IRGC-QF and all of whom were previously sanctioned by the US.

The individuals sanctioned by the UK on Thursday begin with Esmail Qaani, head of the IRGC-QF. Qaani replaced Qasim Soleimani after he was assassinated by the U.S. in January 2020, shortly after he flew into Baghdad.

The newly-sanctioned individuals also include the head of the IRGC-QF Palestine Branch, Mohammed Saeed Izadi, who also heads the Abu Jihad Foreign Operations Unit, according to the Foreign Office statement.

In addition to Zaree, two other members of the IRGC-QF Palestine Branch were sanctioned: Ali Marshad Shirazi and Mostafa Majid Khani. 

A Hamas representative to Iran, Khaled Qaddoumi, was sanctioned, as was a Palestinian Islamic Jihad Representative to Iran, Nasser Abu Sharif.

The U.S., not surprisingly, hailed the British move. “Treasury applauds the United Kingdom’s new Iran sanctions authorities, which will be instrumental in taking action against Iranian support to Hamas and other regional proxy groups that fan conflict and contribute to widespread suffering,” Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo stated on Thursday.