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Saeed Mortazavi

Title: Head of Iran’s Anti-Smuggling Task Force

Sanctions: European Union (April 12, 2011) & United States (September 29, 2010)

In September 2010, the United States sanctioned Seyed Mortazavi for human rights abuses. [1]

In April 2011, the European Union followed suit, including Mortazavi among a number of individuals subject to sanctions for human rights violations.[2]

Mortazavi became Prosecutor General of Tehran in 2003 and held that position until August 2010.

According to the Official Journal of the European Union, as Prosecutor General, Mortazavi issued a blanket warrant under which the Iranian regime detained hundreds of dissidents. [3] According to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran (ICHRI), Mortazavi issued the arrest warrant four days ahead of the election.[4]

Mortazavi also targeted the press. The New York Times reported that Mortazavi was responsible for shutting down over 60 pro-reform newspapers. [5] As a result, Iranians often refer to him as “the butcher of the press.” [6] According to reports, Mortazavi has also ordered the torture and abuse of imprisoned activists, journalists and bloggers. [7]

According to the Official Journal of the European Union, in August 2010, the Iranian regime suspended Mortazavi from his position of Prosecutor General, after an investigation determined he had been involved in the deaths of three individuals who had been detained on his orders. [8]

In January 2010, The Guardian reported that the Iranian parliament had named Mortazavi as the primary individual responsible for abuses at the Kahrizak prison. [9] According to ICHRI, “Mortazavi ordered the transfer of post-election detainees to Kahrizak Detention Center alongside high risk criminals, in substandard conditions, and subject to torture and abuse, resulting in the deaths of at least four persons.”[10]

According to the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, President Ahmadinejad appointed Mortazavi as head of Iran’s Task Force against Smuggling in January 2010.[11]


[1]The White House, Press Release, “Blocking Property of Certain Persons with Respect to Serious Human Rights Abuses by the Government of Iran and Taking Certain Other Actions,” September 29, 2010. (http://www.cbsnews.com/htdocs/pdf/2010iransanctions.eo.annex.rel.pdf)

[2]Council of the European Union, “Council Regulation (EU) No 359/2011 of 12 April 2011 Concerning Restrictive Measures Directed Against Certain Persons, Entities, and Bodies in View of the Situation in Iran,” Official Journal of the European Union, April 12, 2011. p. 100/8

[3]Council of the European Union, “Council Regulation (EU) No 359/2011 of 12 April 2011 Concerning Restrictive Measures Directed Against Certain Persons, Entities, and Bodies in View of the Situation in Iran.” Official Journal of the European Union, April 14, 2011, p. 100/56.

[4]“Men of Violence: Perpetrators of the Post-Election Crackdown,” International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, June 2010, page 12. (http://www.iranhumanrights.org/wp-content/wp-content/menofviolence/Men-of-Violence-English.pdf)

[5]“World Briefing | Middle East: Iran: Top Prosecutor,” The New York Times, May 1, 2003. (http://www.nytimes.com/2003/05/01/world/world-briefing-middle-east-iran-top-prosecutor.html)

[6]Jenny Booth & James Hilder, “Saeed Mortazavi: Butcher of the Press - and Torturer of Tehran?” The Sunday Times, June 25, 2009. (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article6570089.ece)

[7]Jenny Booth & James Hilder, “Saeed Mortazavi: Butcher of the Press - and Torturer of Tehran?” The Sunday Times (U.K.), June 25, 2009. (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article6570089.ece)

[8]Council of the EU, “Council Regulation (EU) No 359/2011 of 12 April 2011 Concerning Restrictive Measures Directed Against Certain Persons, Entities, and Bodies in View of the Situation in Iran.” Official Journal of the European Union, April 14, 2011, p. 100/56; “Men of Violence: Perpetrators of the Post-Election Crackdown,” International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, June 2010.(http://www.iranhumanrights.org/wp-content/wp-content/menofviolence/Men-of-Violence-English.pdf)

[9]Robert Tait, “Iran’s Parliament Exposes Abuse of Opposition Prisoners at Tehran Jail,” The Guardian (U.K.), January 10, 2010. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jan/10/iran-prisoners-abuse-jail); “Official Distortion & Disinformation: A Guide to Iran’s Human Rights Crisis,” International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, February 22, 2011. (http://www.iranhumanrights.org/wp-content/uploads/distortion-disinformation-final.pdf)

[10]“Men of Violence: Perpetrators of the Post-Election Crackdown,” International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, June 2010, page 12. (http://www.iranhumanrights.org/wp-content/wp-content/menofviolence/Men-of-Violence-English.pdf)

[11]“A Year Later: Suppression Continues in Iran,” Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, June 12, 2010, page 22. (http://www.iranhrdc.org/english/publications/reports/3162-a-year-later-suppression-continues-in-iran.html?p=293)