US imposes new sanctions on Iranian officers over crackdown on protests



CNN
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The US on Wednesday imposed a slew of recent sanctions in opposition to Iranian officers concerned within the ongoing crackdown on nationwide protests in Iran – the newest US response to Tehran’s efforts to quash outrage after the demise of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini.

“It has been 40 days since the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in the custody of Iran’s so-called ‘Morality Police,’ and we join her family and the Iranian people for a day of mourning and reflection,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated in a press release.

“The United States is committed to supporting the Iranian people and ensuring that those responsible for the brutal crackdown on the ongoing nationwide protests in Iran are held accountable,” Blinken stated. “Today, we are announcing a joint action between the State and Treasury Departments designating 14 individuals and three entities using five different authorities, demonstrating our commitment to use all appropriate tools to hold all levels of the Iranian government to account.”

Wednesday’s Treasury Division sanctions goal the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ intelligence group and the IRGC’s deputy commander for operations, in addition to two officers within the Sistan and Baluchistan province, “site of some of the worst violence in the latest round of protests,” the company stated in a separate sanction.

The Treasury Division additionally sanctioned quite a few Iranian jail officers, together with Hedayat Farzadi, the warden of Tehran’s infamous Evin Jail.

Along with the sanctions associated to crackdowns on protesters, the Treasury Division additionally designated two Iranians and the college they based – Ravin Academy – which “trains individuals in cyber security and hacking,” in addition to Samane Gostar Sahab Pardaz Non-public Restricted Firm, “one of the main operators of social media filtering services in Iran,” the Treasury Division stated.

“Hackers trained at the Ravin Academy have been involved in directly disrupting the communication of those protesting against the Iranian regime,” Blinken stated.

The State Division sanctioned “Iranian commander and chief of police in Isfahan Province, Mohammed Reza Mirheydary … for his involvement in gross violations of human rights, namely the cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment of peaceful protestors during the November 2021 protests in Isfahan, Iran,” Blinken stated. “As a result of today’s action, Mirheydary is ineligible for entry into the United States.”

The highest US diplomat additionally introduced the US is imposing sanctions “on two individuals and one entity implicated in extrajudicial killings, torture, or other gross violations of internationally recognized human rights committed against individuals in Iran” – Bushehr Jail, which has “reportedly been the site of several human rights abuses,” Mohammed Reza Ostad, “the warden of that facility while gross violations of human rights occurred there;” and Mohammed Reza Mirheydary, “the commander and chief of the police force in Isfahan Province.”

The Biden administration has unveiled a collection of measures aimed toward punishing the regime for its repression of the Iranian individuals and to attempt to assist the protesters.

In late September, the US introduced sanctions on Iran’s morality police following the demise of Amini of their custody.

In a press release, the US Treasury Division stated it was sanctioning the morality police “for abuse and violence against Iranian women and the violation of the rights of peaceful Iranian protestors.”

Shortly thereafter, amid web shutdowns by the Iranian authorities within the face of widespread protests over Amini’s demise, the US authorities took a step meant to permit expertise companies to assist the individuals of Iran entry data on-line.

In an interview with CNN’s Becky Anderson final week, Particular Envoy for Iran Rob Malley emphasised that the US coverage on Iran “is not one of regime change instigated from Washington.”

“Our policy is to defend and support the fundamental rights of Iranian citizens just as we want to support the fundamental rights of citizens across the globe,” he stated.

“Form of government in Iran will be up to the Iranians to decide. Our position, which is very clear, is we support the fundamental human rights of ordinary Iranian women and men and that is our policy,” Malley added.

Malley stated “there’s no doubt” about which aspect of the widespread protests the US is supporting: the protesters.

“We’re on the side of those fundamental rights and of those fundamental rights being respected,” he stated.

US officers, together with Malley, have stated supporting the protesters – not the Iran nuclear deal – are their focus proper now, as efforts to revive the nuclear settlement have hit yet one more deadlock.

The Biden administration’s punitive measures on Iran for its crackdowns on protesters comes because the US and Europe work to counter Iran and Russia’s rising cooperation on the struggle in Ukraine. Russian forces have in latest weeks pummeled Ukrainian cities with Iranian drones. State Division principal deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel stated final week that the “deepening” of relations between Moscow and Tehran must be seen as “a profound threat.”

Patel stated that the US would “continue to take practical, aggressive steps to make these weapons sales harder, including sanctions, export control actions against any entities involved.”

“We have extensive tools available at our arsenal to disrupt not just Iranian arms transfers, but also to continue to hold Russia accountable for their preposterous acts in Ukraine as well,” Patel stated at a division briefing final Tuesday.