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U.K. Planning New Sanctions on Iran After 15 Credible Threats to Kill and Kidnap Citizens

The United Kingdom's foreign secretary James Cleverly on Thursday unveiled a new Iran sanctions regime that will allow London to target Tehran regime leaders. File Photo by Peter Foley/UPI
The United Kingdom’s foreign secretary James Cleverly on Thursday unveiled a new Iran sanctions regime that will allow London to target Tehran regime leaders. File Photo by Peter Foley/UPI

The United Kingdom's (U.K.) Foreign Secretary James Cleverly announced Thursday the British government's plan to sanction the Islamic Republic of Iran following 15 "credible threats" to kill or kidnap people in Britain deemed a threat by the regime.

Speaking to Sky News, Cleverly said that the new proposed sanctions against the regime in Tehran would give the U.K. government "tools to take further action in the future if Iranian behavior does not change."

The U.K. Foreign Secretary also added that the sanctions could be used in response to other malicious activities by the Ayatollahs in Tehran, including military equipment to Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.

"What we have seen is Iran try to stifle dissenting voices, trying to silence criticism," Cleverly told Sky News when asked whether he was worried that Iran succeeded in killing a dissident on British soil.

"Those concerned about Iran's nefarious activities should be happy to see the U.K. applying more sanctions on the regime," explained Matthew RJ Brodsky, a senior fellow at the Gold Institute for International Strategy.

"That said, it is not a large enough stick to induce a change in the regime's behavior when it comes to its terrorist activities or its nuclear program," he told The Foreign Desk.

The U.K. Foreign Secretary added that the British Home Office, the security minister, and the security services have "done a fantastic job keeping people safe here in the U.K., and we support them with the work that we do internationally."

According to Cleverly, new sanctions would "deter and disrupt" aggressive actions from Iran against British citizens.

In a public statement released by the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office, Cleverly said that the Islamic Republic is "oppressing its own people, exporting bloodshed in Ukraine and the Middle East, and threatening to kill and kidnap on U.K. soil."

The U.K. Foreign Office said that the British government has responded to numerous credible threats since 2022 to murder or capture British or U.K.-based individuals deemed a threat to the regime. The regime in Tehran has publicly called for the killing and capture of such individuals and, in some cases, has "detained and harassed their families in Iran."

British officials say the new sanctions will require new legislation to expand the criteria under which officials and entities in Iran can be sanctioned, including hostile activities towards Britain and the spread of weapons.

Experts like Brodsky note that weakness from Western countries has "sent the message to Iran that they need not fear biting consequences for their actions."

"This explains why Iran feels more emboldened to carry out attacks on Western soil. A credible military threat is needed to re-establish even a basic level of deterrence," he added.

In the past few years, the Islamic Republic has increased its assassination and kidnapping campaigns against European and American dissidents, attempting to silence anyone speaking against the regime. In Tehran, Iranian citizens, journalists, and human rights activists have spoken out against the Islamic Republic, facing death, imprisonment, and harassment by security forces and plainclothes supporters.

"Unfortunately, the Biden administration appears to be only focused on the carrots it can provide the regime. The results are predictable. It will lead to more Iranian aggression," Brodsky explained.

Related Story: Biden Admin Wants Allies to Keep Quiet as Iran Comes Closer Than Ever to Nuclear Capability

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