The United States has imposed visa restrictions on two Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps interrogators in the first designations it has imposed on any Iranian official or entity since the start of the Biden-Harris administration.
In a written statement, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the two men, Ali Hemmatian and Masoud Safdari, were designated “for their involvement in gross violations of human rights, namely the torture, and/or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment of political prisoners and persons detained during protests in 2019 and 2020.”
The designation means the two men and their immediate family members are ineligible for entry into the United States.
The action was taken the same day the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran Javaid Rehman delivered his annual report to the U.N. Human Rights Council. His report details multiple egregious rights violations in Iran, including the violent responses by security forces to peaceful protestors that have been followed up with no investigations or accountability. It also notes the abusive actions by interrogators in their attempts to force detainees to confess to crimes.
At a press briefing, State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said the message the United States is sending by designating the two IRGC interrogators is clear:
“The United States is committed to promoting accountability for those responsible for human rights violations and abuses. That includes in Iran, as well as any other country around the world.”
In recent weeks, the United States has made known that it is willing to engage with Iran to achieve a mutual return to compliance with the Iran nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA. Spokesperson Price noted that the United States can pursue diplomacy with Iran on the one hand, and “uphold and act in accordance with our values” on the other.
“And it is consistent with our values to make clear that there will be consequences for the sort of gross violations of human rights that these individuals engaged in. We can absolutely do both.”
In his statement, Secretary Blinken said, “We will also work with our allies to promote accountability for such violations and abuses. The United States will continue to support the rights of people in Iran and demand the Iranian government treat its people with respect and dignity.”