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Tehran sanctions DW Farsi for coverage of Iran protests

October 26, 2022

The Iranian Foreign Ministry announced sanctions on several European organizations and personnel, including DW's Farsi department.

The logo Deutsche Welle made for minds at the radio station DW in the Schürmann building in the Bundesviertel in Bonn.
DW is Germany’s international broadcasterImage: Marc John/imago images

Iran added the Farsi service of DW to a list of sanctioned institutions and individuals on Wednesday. The latest sanctions also included two German companies and two editors at the German newspaper Bild.

DW is Germany's international broadcaster. Its Farsi service operates from Bonn, Germany.

Iran's Foreign Ministry announced the sanctions in a statement, accusing those listed of "supporting terrorism." Those sanctioned are subject to a travel ban and the confiscation of any property or assets in Iran. 

Iran often describes protesters as "terrorists."

Iran has been gripped by nationwide protests since the death in custody of 22-year-old Kurdish woman Jina Mahsa Amini on September 16.

DW: 'This is unacceptable'

DW Director General Peter Limbourg said the sanctions would not affect the organization's coverage of Iran, "The fact that we appear on such a list now will not stop us from providing our users in Iran with reliable information."

"The regime in Iran has been threatening our Farsi editors and their families for some time now," Limbourg added. "This is unacceptable. The regime promotes terrorism internally and externally. I expect politicians in Germany and Europe to increase the pressure on the regime."

'We condemn the move of the Iranian regime'

Other sanctioned institutions included Radio France International's Persian service and the International Committee in Search of Justice (ISJ), an informal group of EU parliamentarians supporting democracy in Iran.

Following the crackdown on protests in Iran, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said "business as usual" cannot continue with Tehran.

In a separate statement, the Foreign Ministry condemned sanctions placed on the media.

"We strongly condemn the Iranian sanctions against German media," the German Foreign Ministry wrote on Twitter.

"Sanctioning independent media shows once again how #Iran suppresses internationally recognized rights to press freedom and freedom of expression," the ministry said.

The German Federation of Journalists (DJV) called on the government in Berlin to take action pressing Iran immediately to lift the sanctions on DW.

"It is completely absurd to criminalize critical and independent journalism, like that done by journalists at the German foreign broadcaster, as terrorism," said DJV Federal Chairman Frank Überall.

The Iranian measure follows a raft of sanctions imposed by the European Union on October 17 against "perpetrators of serious human rights violations."