The United States has taken new action to hold members of the Iranian regime accountable for their repression of the Iranian people, in particular, denying Iranians the right to free and fair elections.
On February 20, the United States added five members of Iran’s Guardian Council and its Elections Supervision Committee to the U.S. Department of Treasury’s List of Specially Designated Nationals. They include Ahmad Jannati, Secretary of the Guardian Council, who has praised the killing of political dissidents; Mohammad Yazdi, a senior member of the Council and former head of Iran’s brutal judiciary, and three other officials.
At a press briefing, U.S. Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook said, “Together these five officials oversee a process that silences the voice of the Iranian people, curtails their freedom, and limits their political participation:”
“Any Iranian who wants to run for office must first be approved by the Guardian Council and its Committee for Election Supervision . . . They decide who gets on the ballot. They are the ones who really get to vote in Iran.”
Special Representative Hook said that Ahmad Jannati is renowned in Iran for his calls for “Death to America” and “Death to Israel,” as well as for his approval of the execution of protesters. However, he is not well known to the American or European media:
“Because the regime doesn’t want him to be well known.That would be bad marketing.But the people of Iran know him quite well and clerics like Ahmad Jannati are why the regime is facing a crisis of credibility and legitimacy at home.”
Adding Jannati and the four other senior Iranian officials to Treasury’s List of Specially Designated Nationals shines a spotlight on the officials’ role in preventing the Iranian people from freely choosing their leaders.It also means that all property and interests in property of these persons that are in the United States or in possession or control of U.S. persons must be blocked and reported to the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, or OFAC.
“The United States will continue to expose Iranian officials who use their authority to abuse the rights of the Iranian people and deny them their basic freedoms,” said Special Representative Hook. ”This regime should respect the aspirations of its people for a representative government and give them a real choice at the ballot box.”