Amid Iran’s nationwide popular protests and heavy-handed crackdown by authorities, the US has issued fresh sanctions against the Islamic Republic, targeting hijab police and some security officials.
In a statement on its website on Thursday, the US the Treasury Department said its Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is designating Iran’s Morality Police for abuse and violence against Iranian women and the violation of the rights of peaceful Iranian protestors.”
“The Morality Police are responsible for the recent death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was arrested and detained for allegedly wearing a hijab improperly,” it added.
OFAC also targeted seven senior officials of Iran’s Morality Police, the Intelligence Ministry, the Army’s Ground Forces, Basij Paramilitary Forces, and Law Enforcement Forces, who “oversee organizations that routinely employ violence to suppress peaceful protesters and members of Iranian civil society, political dissidents, women’s rights activists, and members of the Iranian Baha’i community.”
Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen said, “Mahsa Amini was a courageous woman whose death in Morality Police custody was yet another act of brutality by the Iranian regime’s security forces against its own people,” adding that “We condemn this unconscionable act in the strongest terms and call on the Iranian government to end its violence against women and its ongoing violent crackdown on free expression and assembly.”
Head of the so-called morality police, Mohammad Rostami Cheshmeh-Gachi, and the commander of the Tehran division of forces, Ahmad Mirzaei, as well as Intelligence Minister Esmail Khatib are among the sanctioned officials.