New US Sanctions on Iran Officials after Execution of Two Protesters

As the State Department accused Tehran of using executions and sexual violence to stifle peaceful protests, the Biden administration on Wednesday imposed sanctions on several Iranian officials.

As the State Department spokesman Ned Price underscored on Wednesday during his statement commemorating Shab-e-Yalda – the Iranian Winter Solstice celebration- it appears that no act is beneath Iran’s leadership in their attempts to silence dissent, noting that they have used executions, arbitrary detention, forced disappearances and sexual violence to stifle peaceful protests by the Iranian people.

Among the designated officials are Tehran’s Prosecutor General, IRGC leaders, and key military officials, targeted over the crackdown on protests ignited by Mahsa Amini’s death in police custody and after two protesters were executed in recent weeks, one of them publicly.

The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control announced new sanctions targeting Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps leaders Mohammad Kazemi and Abbas Nilforushan and two senior officials of Iran’s Basij Resistance Forces, an IRGC-affiliated militia that has been widely deployed during the crackdown.

Also targeted is Iran’s Prosecutor General, Mohammad Montazeri – accused of ordering the courts in September to issue harsh sentences to many arrested protesters-  who had presided over the prosecutions of protesters, some of whom have ended up executed or condemned to death.

On the list of sanctioned entities was Iranian company Imen Sanat Zaman Fara, which the Treasury said manufactures equipment – including armored vehicles used in crowd suppression -for Iran’s Law Enforcement Forces to suppress the protests.

Brian E. Nelson, the Treasury undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, denounced in a statement the Iranian regime’s intensifying use of violence against its own people who are advocating for their human rights.

Nelson stressed that the US and its partners are dedicated to holding Tehran officials to account for egregious abuses committed against Iranians fighting for their fundamental freedoms.

Wednesday’s sanctions are just the latest in a series of actions the US has taken to pressure the Iranian leadership over its crackdown on the unrest – the biggest challenge to Iranian leadership since the 1978-79 Islamic Revolution- ignited by the death of Amini in the hands of the morality police in September.

Washington led the charge earlier this month in ousting Iran from the UN Commission on the Status of Women.

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