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Treasury new sanctions Iranian officials protests Mahsa Amini’s death

People participate in a protest against the Islamic regime of Iran and the death of Mahsa Amini in New York, September 27, 2022.

Stephanie Keith | Reuters

The U.S. Treasury announced a fresh round of sanctions Wednesday against Iranian officials for brutal violence against peaceful demonstrators as protests following the death of Kurdish Iranian woman Mahsa Amini continue.

The new sanctions come 40 days after the 22-year-old Amini’s death in the custody of Iran’s morality police. Iranian officials have continued their crackdown on protesters while limiting access to internet services.

“Forty days after the tragic death of Mahsa Amini, Iranians continue to bravely protest in the face of brutal suppression and disruption of internet access,” Brian E. Nelson, under secretary of the Treasury said in a statement. “The United States is imposing new sanctions on Iranian officials overseeing organizations involved in violent crackdowns and killings, including of children, as part of our commitment to hold all levels of the Iranian government accountable for its repression.”

Amini died under suspicious circumstances at a hospital in the Iranian capital Tehran on Sept. 16 after being detained by its so-called morality police for wearing her hijab head wrap too loosely. Eyewitnesses claim she was beaten by police while Iranian authorities said Amini died of a heart attack.

Protests following her death have spread to more than 50 cities. The government has tried to conceal strikes against protesters with widespread internet outages beginning at 4 p.m. local time and continuing into the night. Tehran also blocked access to WhatsApp and Instagram, two of the last remaining uncensored social media services in Iran.

Wednesday saw a fresh wave of violence in Amini’s hometown of Saqqez as security forces clashed with about 10,000 mourners at her gravesite. Internet access in the region was also cut off.

Large numbers of riot police were also deployed to Tehran Wednesday, according to a witness account. More than 180 people have been killed since the protests began.

Treasury designated 10 Iranian officials, two Iranian intelligence actors and two Iranian entities involved in the Iranian government’s efforts to interfere with internet access:

  • Mohammad Kazemi: Commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Intelligence Organization.
  • Abbas Nilforushan: Deputy Commander for Operations of the IRGC.
  • Hossein Modarres Khiabani: Governor of Sistan and Baluchistan province, sites of the worst violence in the latest round of protests.
  • Ahmad Shafahi: Commander of Salman Corps, the IRGC military unit in Sistan and Baluchistan.
  • Hedayat Farzadi: Warden of Evin Prison, which houses protesters.
  • Seyyed Heshmatollah Hayat Al-Ghaib: Director-General of Tehran Province Prisons.
  • Heidar Pasandideh: Warden of Sanandaj Central Prison in Kurdistan province, where prisoners have been arbitrarily executed.
  • Murad Fathi: Director-General of Prisons in Kurdistan Province, where prisoners have undergone torture.
  • Morteza Piri: Warden of Zahedan Prison, known in Sistan and Baluchistan by prisoners and their families for his brutality toward prisoners.
  • Seyed Mojtaba Mostafavi: Cofounder of Ravin Academy and member of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) who was directed by the MOIS to train and recruit hackers.

The State Department is concurrently sanctioning Mohammad Reza Mirheydary, Mohammad Reza Ostad, and Iran’s Bushehr Prison for their roles in human rights abuses under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act.

Access to any property and all interest in the property owned by the sanctioned individuals on U.S. soil or in control of a person in the U.S. are blocked. Treasury issued prior designations against Iranian actors on Sept. 22 and Oct. 6.

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