(AP/ISNA, Arash Khamoushi)
Iran execution

Nuclear deal notwithstanding, the EU will continue to sanction Iranian officials over their involvement in Iran’s abysmal human rights violations record.

The European Union (EU) announced Monday it has extended sanctions against 82 Iranian officials until 2017 because of the Islamic Republic’s abysmal human rights violations record.

The 28-nation bloc has had asset freezes and travel bans in place against Iranians since 2011 because of violations of human rights.

EU restrictive measures were adopted as part of an integrated policy approach combining pressure and engagement to persuade Iran to comply with its international obligations.

The measures include asset freezes and visa bans on persons and entities responsible for grave human rights violations, as well as a ban on exports to Iran of equipment which might be used for internal repression and of equipment for monitoring telecommunications

The measures came despite a recent improvement of relations linked to a nuclear deal between Western powers and Tehran.

The state of human rights in Iran has been criticized both by Iranians and international human right activists, writers, and NGOs. The United Nations General Assembly and the Human Rights Commission have repeatedly condemned prior and ongoing abuses in Iran in published critiques and several resolutions.

Most recently Amnesty International reported earlier this month that there was a dramatic 54 percent increase in executions globally in 2015, with Iran, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia responsible for nearly 90 percent of the killings.

Executions in Iran rose 31 percent to 977, and Iran is one of the world’s largest users of the death penalty, ranking second behind China in 2014, according to the most recent figures from Amnesty.

In January, Amnesty International charged Iran with executing juveniles.

The London-based group also found that Iran has executed at least 73 juvenile offenders between 2005 and 2015, including at least four last year.

In late October, the United Nations’ special investigator on the human rights situation in Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, warned that executions in Iran have risen at an “exponential rate” since 2005 and could top 1,000 in 2015. He said Iran puts more people to death per capita than any other country, adding that the majority of executions do not conform to international laws banning the death penalty for juveniles and non-violent offenders.

By: United with Israel Staff
AP contributed to this report.