US imposes new Iran sanctions relating to violence against women

U.S. officials have unveiled the latest round of sanctions on Iran over its government’s violence toward women and girls amid the anti-regime protests happening around the country.

In a news release, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the Treasury Department has implemented sanctions on multiple Iranian officials, company presidents, security leaders and companies for their role in the crackdown on protests in the country.

Many of those protests have been against laws requiring women in Iran to wear head coverings.

The Treasury Department imposed sanctions on Director General of Prisons in Alborz Province Ali Chaharmahali and Head of Orumiyeh Central Prison Dariush Bakhshi for their roles, saying that both men were complicit in the mistreatment of inmates in their custody by security forces. This mistreatment included rape, torture and other methods of degradation, according to the U.S. government.

The department also sanctioned Mahdi Amiri, the Cyberspace Affairs deputy of the Prosecutor General’s Office of Iran, “for acting on behalf of an entity that has engaged in censorship or other activities that prohibit, limit, or penalize the exercise of freedom of expression or assembly.”

The Iranian Army ​​Commander-in-Chief Sayyed Abdolrahim Mousavi and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander of Habib Shahsavari also were hit with sanctions. Treasury said IRGC forces under the command of Shahsavari allegedly detained and tortured individuals at the corps’ detainment facilities in West Azerbaijan Province and that military personnel under the control of Mousavi reportedly fired machine guns at protestors in November 2019.

Blinken also said in his statement that the department was imposing sanctions on multiple companies and their CEOs for providing equipment and goods to the Law Enforcement Forces of Iran (LEF), Iran’s national police force, and for providing security and protection services under the supervision of the LEF.

“The United States remains deeply concerned that Iranian authorities continue to suppress dissent and peaceful protest, including through mass arrests, sham trials, hasty executions, the detention of journalists and the use of sexual violence as a means of protest suppression,” Blinken concluded in his statement.

“Together with allies and partners around the world, we continue to take action to support the people of Iran in the face of these and other human rights abuses by the Iranian regime.”

Iranian authorities have cracked down on waves of protests in recent months sparked by the death of a 22-year-old Iranian national Mahsa Amini, who died in police custody last month after being arrested by authorities for improperly wearing her hijab, which violated Iran’s strict rules on female dress codes.

Protesters have been calling for an end to violence and discrimination toward women in the country and in some cases the overthrow of the ruling regime.

Amini’s death and the women-led revolt have also garnered international attention, with countries including the U.S. condemning Iran for its treatment of women and the deadly tactics it has used to disperse demonstrators.

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