Top Iranian officials, including the interior and communication ministers, were sanctioned by the US on Thursday.
The action was taken a few days after US President Joe Biden threatened to raise sanctions against Iran over its officials’ use of violence against protesters.
According to Brian Nelson, the undersecretary of the Treasury, Washington is committed to punishing those responsible for the crackdown on demonstrations over Mahsa Amini’s death in morality police custody, which has already lasted close to a week.
The Iranian government’s persistent, brutal repression of nonviolent protests and the closure of the internet are both condemned by the United States, which will not hold back in taking action against those responsible, according to Mr. Nelson.
The US Treasury published the penalties on its website, which targeted seven prominent figures in Iran’s government and security forces. These people include the interior minister of Iran, Ahmad Vahidi, and the communications minister, Eisa Zarepour.
Additionally, sanctions were placed on five senior security officials, including Hossein Nejat, an IRGC commander and close ally of Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei, Yadollah Javani, the head of the Iranian Cyber Police, and Vahid Mohammad Naser Majid, the deputy political commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).
Top Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) officials were also attacked, including deputy operations commander Hossein Sajedinia and Tehran LEF police chief Hossein Rahimi.
The impact of the sanctions, according to Iran observer and senior fellow Henry Rome at the Washington Institute for Middle East Policy, is more political than it is material.
According to Mr. Rome, the designations “probably would not appreciably impact the calculus of those implementing the crackdown.”
But he added that they have the crucial function of demonstrating the support of the world for the demonstrators.
“They set the framework for other nations to adopt comparable sanctions regimes in an effort to develop international cohesiveness. They are a mechanism for the US to distribute trustworthy information about the scope and magnitude of repression in Iran.”
According to human rights organizations, the protests may have resulted in hundreds of deaths.
After Friday prayers, Amnesty International claimed that Iranian security forces had killed at least 66 people, including children, and injured hundreds more in Zahedan, Sistan, and Baluchestan provinces by using live ammunition, metal splinters, and tear gas against protesters, spectators, and worshippers.