The United States says it has imposed new sanctions against 17 Iranian officials and entities involved in “repression, censorship, and prison abuses” amid a crackdown on anti-government protests.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken made the announcement on Wednesday, as Iranian protesters marked 40 days since 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died in the custody of the morality police after she was arrested for allegedly wearing the hijab incorrectly.
Her death sparked a wave of popular anger across Iran, which in turn triggered a heavy-handed crackdown by security forces that has killed at least 234 people, including 29 children, according to one human rights organization. Several thousand people have been arrested.
“We join [Mahsa’s] family and the Iranian people for a day of mourning and reflection,” Blinken said in a statement, adding that 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.”
“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.”
Three commanders of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, six government officials who “hold leadership positions within Iran’s prison system, including at Tehran’s Evin prison, as well as the governor of Sistan and Baluchistan were among the individual sanctioned.
The chief of police in Isfahan province was also targeted for his involvement in the “cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment of peaceful protestors” during the wave of protests that rocked Iran in November 2021.
The U.S. administration has unveiled a series of measures aimed at punishing the clerical regime for its repression of the Iranian people. In late September, it announced sanctions on Iran’s morality police “for abuse and violence against Iranian women and the violation of the rights of peaceful Iranian protestors.”.