To promote accountability for the Iranian regime’s human rights abuses, the United States, in coordination with the United Kingdom and the European Union, has imposed sanctions on 10 additional Iranian individuals, as well as one additional Iranian entity.
The sanctioned individuals include Iran’s Deputy Minister of Intelligence and key commanders in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, the IRGC. In a statement, the U.S. Department of the Treasury called that entity, the IRGC Cooperative Foundation, “a slush fund for the IRGC’s personnel and their business interests.” Five people who serve on the board were also designated.
“Today’s action is the latest of numerous tranches of sanctions made in close consultation with our allies and partners and aimed at Iranian individuals and entities connected to Iranian authorities’ cruel and violent crackdown against peaceful protesters,” said State Department Spokesperson Ned Price.
Since the start of nationwide protests in September following the death in police custody of twenty-two-year-old Mahsa Amini, credible human rights groups estimate that over 19,000 people have been arrested in connection with the protests; more than 500 people have been killed by Iranian security forces; more than a dozen have been issued death sentences; and four people are known to have been executed.
Among the individuals newly sanctioned by the United States are several senior leaders in the IRGC, a main actor in the current brutal crackdown. Secretary of State Antony Blinken noted in a statement that two of them, Mohammad Nazar Azimi and Karoush Asiabani, “command IRGC units that have allegedly committed some of the worst acts by Iranian security forces since the beginning of the protests.” Those acts include firing on unarmed demonstrators using live ammunition, and shelling vehicles attempting to deliver blood bags to the wounded in local hospitals.
State Department Spokesperson Price said the new designations send a “very clear message to the Iranian regime: That the world is watching, and the world is prepared to take action in response to the violence that Iranian officials are perpetrating against their own people … If Iran continues to engage in these human rights abuses, declared Spokesperson Price, “we will continue to apply even more pressure on Iran.”
As Secretary Blinken has said, the United States “will keep standing with the brave Iranians who are standing up for their own basic rights, led by brave young women – all of this in the face of extraordinary repression.”