World U.S. sanctions Iran's morality police after Mahsa Amini's death

U.S. sanctions Iran’s morality police after Mahsa Amini’s death

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The Treasury and State Departments announce sanctions against Iran’s morality police and seven senior security officials after the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini. Photo by Clemens Bilan/EPA-EFE

Sept. 22 (BP) — The Treasury and State Departments announced sanctions Thursday against Iran’s morality police and seven senior security officials following the death of a young Iranian woman who was detained for wearing a hijab improperly.

The sanctions follow days of violent protests in Iran and what the State Department called the “tragic and brutal death” of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian woman, who was arrested on Sept. 13.

“We have sanctioned Iran’s Morality Police, the entity responsible for the arrest and death of Mahsa Amini, and designated seven other Iranian security officials responsible for suppressing non-violent protests,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweeted Thursday.

Amini died Friday at Kasra Hospital in northern Tehran after slipping into a coma. The morality police were accused of torturing and beating her after hospital officials said Amini died from severe brain trauma caused by “multiple blows to the head.” Iranian officials deny the charges, claiming she died of a heart attack.

“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,” said Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. “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.”

Amini’s death sparked days of anti-government protests in Iran after her funeral Sunday. Protesters faced a violent crackdown by government authorities leaving at least eight people dead.

In addition to the morality police, the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control announced sanctions against seven senior leaders of Iran’s security organizations that have used violence to suppress political dissidents and women’s rights activists. They include leaders of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security, the Army Ground Forces, the Basij Resistance Forces and the Law Enforcement Forces.

The OFAC said those sanctioned will have all property or interests in the United States blocked. The sanctions will also ban any future transactions within the United States.

“The Iranian government needs to end its systemic persecution of women and allow peaceful protest,” the State Department said in a statement. “The United States will continue to voice our support for human rights in Iran and hold those who violate them to account.”

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