The United States (U.S) has condemned the tragic and brutal death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian woman who died in the custody of the Iranian Morality Police after being detained for purportedly wearing a hijab too loosely.
“We mourn with her loved ones and with the Iranian people,” the U.S. Department of State said in a statement released on September 22.
In response to this and other human rights violations in Iran—including the violent suppression of peaceful protests—the United States has imposed sanctions on Iran’s Morality Police and senior security officials who have engaged in serious human rights abuses, pursuant to Executive Order 13553.
The Morality Police, an element of Iran’s Law Enforcement Forces (LEF), arrests women for wearing “inappropriate” hijab and enforces other restrictions on freedom of expression.
“The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has further designated Haj Ahmad Mirzaei and Mohammad Rostami Cheshmeh Gachi, both of whom are senior officials in the Morality Police,” said U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken.
Additionally, OFAC is designating: Esmail Khatib, Iran’s Minister of Intelligence; Manouchehr Amanollahi, the LEF commander of the Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari province of Iran; Qasem Rezaei, the deputy commander of the LEF; Kiumars Heidari, the commander of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Army Ground Forces; and Salar Abnoush, the deputy commander of the Basij, a paramilitary militia and a subsidiary force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
According to the U.S. statement, these individuals have been all involved in the suppression and killing of non-violent protesters. It adds that the Iranian government needs to end its systematic persecution of women and allow peaceful protest.
The United States says it will continue to voice its support for human rights in Iran and hold those who violate them to account.
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