September 30, 2023

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US imposes new Iran sanctions on anniversary of Mahsa Amini death

The U.S. on Friday imposed a fresh round of sanctions on Iran ahead of the anniversary of Mahsa Amini’s death, which prompted a mass wave of protests across the Middle Eastern country against police brutality and oppressive government control last year.

The State Department slapped sanctions on 25 Iranian individuals as well as three Iranian state-backed media outlets and one Iranian internet research firm.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement that all the individuals and entities are connected to the “Iranian regime’s violent suppression of nationwide protests” following the death of Amini in police custody.

Blinken added in remarks later Friday that the Iranian government “brutally crushed these peaceful protests,” killed “hundreds of demonstrators, including children” and arrested thousands more.

“The United States will continue to support Iranians — and all people — who are defending their human rights and fundamental freedoms,” he said. “And today, we join people from across the globe in honoring the memory of Mahsa Amini and those killed.”

Iran erupted into widespread protests following the Sept. 16, 2022, death of Amini, who was arrested by the government’s “Morality Police” for wearing a hijab loosely. Police claimed she died from a heart attack, but her family said the 22-year-old died from beatings in police custody.

Tehran’s security forces cracked down harshly on the protests. Human rights groups have said more than 500 people were killed and up to 20,000 people may have been arrested. In July, Iran’s Morality Police resumed the hijab patrol.

The U.S. action announced on Friday is the 13th round of sanctions imposed by Washington since Amini’s death, with 70 Iranian officials and entities already sanctioned.

The latest sanctions, which were coordinated with allied nations such as the U.K., Canada and Australia, target several officials who were part of Iran’s security forces, as well as state prison officials and government allies who worked to shut down internet access during the protests.

The three state-run media outlets include Tasnim News Agency, Fars New Agency and Press TV, which the U.S. targeted for working closely with the Iranian government during the crackdown on the protests.

Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson said the U.S. would “continue to take collective action against those who suppress Iranians’ exercise of their human rights.”

“As we approach one year since Mahsa Amini’s tragic and senseless death in the custody of Iran’s so-called ‘Morality Police,’ we recall that the movement of men and women across Iran, inclusive of different faiths and ethnic groups, was met with horrific violence, mass incarceration, and systemic internet disruption by the Iranian regime,” he said in a Friday statement.

The U.S. on Friday also restricted visas for 13 Iranians connected to the suppression of the protests last year.

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