Protesters continue to fill the streets in cities throughout Iran following the death in September of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, after her arrest by the so-called “Morality Police.” Although exact numbers are unknown, human rights monitors say that hundreds of people have been killed by security forces, including dozens of children, and thousands have been arrested.
Late last month, the United States announced another round of sanctions against Iranian officials and entities for brutal violence against peaceful demonstrators. The new sanctions are a joint action by the U.S. State Department and the Treasury Department. Six of the designated individuals are officials holding leadership positions within Iran’s prison system, including the notorious Evin prison, and prisons in the Provinces of Sistan and Baluchistan and Kurdistan, among others. The officials are responsible for abuse and maltreatment of numerous prisoners, including protesters, other political prisoners, and religious and ethnic minority groups.
Some of the most brutal responses to the current protests occurred in Sistan and Baluchistan Province, where scores of people, including children, were killed, when security forces fired on protesters with live ammunition. The United States has sanctioned the governor of the Province, Hossein Modarres Khiabani, for his role in overseeing the violent suppression of protests there.
Three members of the IRCG were also designated: one who has direct control of the IRGC and Basij forces responsible for the violent crackdown on peaceful protesters in Sistan and Baluchistan, and two other IRGC commanders responsible for security organizations that engage in aggressive and brutal repression of the Iranian people. The chief of police in Isfahan Province was also designated for gross violations of human rights.
Two Iranian cyber actors who are members of Iran’s infamous Ministry of Intelligence and Security, the MOIS, were sanctioned for their training and recruiting of hackers, as was the school they founded, the Ravin Academy. An Iranian company that provides censorship, surveillance, and espionage tools to the Iranian Government was also designated.
“The United States is committed to working to promote justice and accountability for human rights violations and abuses in Iran,” said Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a statement announcing the sanctions. “We will continue to find ways to support the people of Iran as they peacefully protest in defense of their human rights and fundamental freedoms.”