A senior Russian diplomat has condemned Canada over imposition of sanctions on a wide range of Iranian institutions and persons, including the English-language Press TV news network, over alleged “rights violations,” describing the move as a sign of Western authoritarianism.
“This is a sign of weakness. Moreover, this is yet another sign of the authoritarian trends in the West,” Russia's Permanent Representative to International Organizations in the Austrian capital city of Vienna, Mikhail Ulyanov, wrote in a post published on his Twitter page on Wednesday.
He added, “No space for competition of different views. Just dictate and brainwashing.”
This is a sign of weakness. Moreover, this is yet another sign of the authoritarian trends in the West. No space for competition of different views. Just dictate and brainwashing. https://t.co/tJGYn5HHQP— Mikhail Ulyanov (@Amb_Ulyanov) October 4, 2022
Earlier, Independent journalist and political commentator Richard Medhurst, who previously used to work as the host of Press TV's The Communiqué program, denounced Canadian sanctions against the 24-hour channel.
“This is the level of intellectualism, free speech, and debate in the West,” he argued.
“You’re not allowed to consume other media and make up your own mind. You must be nannied, told what to believe, and never dissent from establishment narrative,” Medhurst tweeted.
The Canadian government announced the new sanctions in a Monday statement, claiming they were in response to “human rights violations” committed in Iran.
These new measures come in addition to Canada's existing sanctions against Iran. They listed 25 individuals and 9 entities, including officials in Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and the Ministry of Intelligence.
Iran's 24-hour English-speaking Press TV, which has played a pivotal role during the past two weeks in reporting the riots and their background support base through various news items and articles, is on the list of the Canadian government’s sanctions.
Among the institutions sanctioned by Ottawa also are the Basij Force, which played a key role in terminating the riots, the Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri; the chief commander of the IRGC, Hossein Salami; secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Ali Shamkhani; Iran’s Majlis speaker, Mohammad Baqer Ghalibaf; Iran’s Interior Minister Ahamd Vahidi; and commander of the IRGC's Quds Force, Esmail Qa'ani.
Protests broke out in Iran over the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian woman who fainted at a police station on September 16 and was later pronounced dead at a hospital.
The protests soon turned into violent riots, with rioters going on the rampage across the country, attacking security officers, resorting to vandalism against public property, and desecrating religious sanctities.
According to a statement released by the Iranian Intelligence Ministry on Friday, the rioters have been backed by Western regimes and their mercenary media, who disseminated misinformation and distorted the sequence of events that led to Amini’s death even before the official investigation into the incident concludes.
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has severely censured the unrest that erupted in some parts of Iran following the death of the young woman, stating that the deadly riots were orchestrated in advance by the United States and the Israeli regime.
“I state it clearly that these developments were planned by America, the Zionist regime and their acolytes. Their main problem is with a strong and independent Iran and the country’s progress. The Iranian nation proved to be fairly strong during recent events and will bravely come onto the scene wherever necessary in the future,” the Leader said on Monday.
Ayatollah Khamenei also said that although Amini’s death was heart-breaking, the ensuing riots were not natural as groups of people caused social disturbances on the streets, burnt copies of the Holy Qur’an, harassed veiled women, and set mosques, religious congregational halls and private cars on fire.
“If it were not for the young girl, they would have invented another excuse to create insecurity and trigger riots in the country on the first day of [the Persian calendar month of] Mehr this year,” he maintained.