U.S. sanctions 6 employees of state-run Iran broadcaster IRIB for forced confessions

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Nov. 16 (UPI) — The U.S. State and Treasury departments Wednesday sanctioned six senior employees of the state-controlled media corporation Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting.

In a statement announcing the sanctions, the Treasury Department said, “IRIB has produced and recently broadcast televised interviews of individuals being forced to confess that their relatives were not killed by Iranian authorities during nationwide protests but died due to accidental, unrelated causes.”

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According to the Treasury Department, IRIB has broadcast hundreds of forced confessions of Iranian, dual-national and international detainees of Iran.

“The Iranian government’s systemic reliance on forced confessions illustrates the government’s refusal to speak truth to its citizens and the international community,” the Treasury Department’s Brian E. Nelson said in a statement.

“The United States remains committed to supporting the Iranian people as they continue their peaceful protests. We will continue to hold Iranian officials and government institutions accountable for their human rights violations and their censorship of the Iranian people.”

The State Department sanctions statement said two of the six IRIB people targeted “are responsible for interrogations, which are often conducted in tandem with Iranian security forces.”

“IRIB acts not as an objective media outlet but rather as a key tool in the Iranian government’s mass suppression and censorship campaign against its own people,” the State Department statement said.

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The Treasury Department statement said IRIB “plays a central role in restricting the exercise of the right to freedom of expression and impeding the free flow of information in Iran through censorship activities.”

Treasury also said IRIB cooperates extensively with security and intelligence services in Iran to obtain and disseminate forced confessions.

These sanctions are the latest Iranian sanctions following sanctions Tuesday related to Iranian drones and Nov. 3 related to an Iranian oil smuggling network.