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US sanctions 2 Iranian ministers, 5 senior officials over bloody protest crackdown

Washington condemns suppression of rallies, vows to punish those who participate in violence; IRGC commanders, morality police official included in package

Activists demonstrate in New York against the Iranian regime following the death of Mahsa Amini in the custody of the Islamic Republic's notorious morality police, October 1, 2022. (Yuki IWAMURA/ AFP)
Activists demonstrate in New York against the Iranian regime following the death of Mahsa Amini in the custody of the Islamic Republic's notorious morality police, October 1, 2022. (Yuki IWAMURA/ AFP)

WASHINGTON — The United States slapped sanctions on seven senior Iranian officials Thursday for their roles in violent crackdowns on protestors after the death of Mahsa Amini following her arrest for wearing her hijab improperly.

The sanctions targeted Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi, Communications Minister Eisa Zarepour, and five senior security officials “for the shutdown of Iran’s internet access and the continued violence against peaceful protesters,” the US Treasury said.

Protests erupted across Iran over the death of Amini, a 22-year-old Kurd, after her arrest by the morality police in Tehran for allegedly breaching the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code for women.

The crackdown by the security forces on the protests has claimed dozens of lives, according to human rights groups.

“The rights to freedom of expression and of peaceful assembly are vital to guaranteeing individual liberty and dignity,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury Brian Nelson in a statement.

“The United States condemns the Iranian government’s Internet shutdown and continued violent suppression of peaceful protest and will not hesitate to target those who direct and support such actions.”

Illustrative: This photo taken on September 22, 2018, shows members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) marching during the annual military parade that marks the anniversary of the outbreak of the devastating 1980-1988 war with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, in the capital Tehran. (Stringer/AFP)

The five security officials included in the sanctions were: Hossein Sajedinia, the deputy operations commander of Iranian law enforcement forces; Yadollah Javani, the deputy political commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps; Vahid Mohammad Naser Majid, the head of the Iranian Cyber Police; Hossein Nejat, an IRGC commander; and Hossein Rahimi, who oversees much of the morality police’s hijab enforcement in Tehran, according to the Treasury.

On September 22 the US Treasury placed sanctions on Iran’s morality police after Amini’s death.

Treasury sanctions aim to freeze any assets those designated might have under US jurisdiction and forbid any American individuals or companies — including international banks with US operations — from doing business with them, effectively limiting their access to global financial networks.

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