U.S., western nations sanction Iran over its violent protest crackdown

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Jan. 23 (UPI) — The United States, along with Britain and the European Union, applied further coordinated sanctions against Iran Monday for that regime’s recent heavy-handed treatment of protesters.

The sanctions were added Monday against 18 new individuals and 19 entities, including the commander of the Iranian military’s ground forces, Kiyumars Heidari.

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The sanctions freeze assets, restrict or ban travel, and ban certain exports to Iran. They also restrict financial transactions with sanctioned individuals or entities.

A number of officers in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps also were added to the sanction list, as well as Naser Rashedi, Iran’s Deputy Minister of Intelligence and Security.

Monday’s coordinated efforts are in response to the Islamic republic’s violent response to protesters in that country, following the highly-publicized death of Mahsa Amini. The 22-year-old died in September from severe injuries while in custody, after she was beaten by members of Iran’s morality police for incorrectly wearing her hijab.

Women have since taken to the streets, removing their hijabs in solidarity and sparking wider protests against the hardline regime. Iran has responded with violence against protesters, with hundreds killed and thousands imprisoned.

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“The United States remains committed to supporting the Iranian people in their demands for human rights and other fundamental freedoms,” Under Secretary of the U.S. Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson said Monday in a statement.

“Along with our partners, we will continue to hold the Iranian regime accountable so long as it relies upon violence, sham trials, the execution of protesters, and other means of suppressing its people.”

Monday’s announcement marks the ninth round of sanctions applied by the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control against Iran over the recent human-rights abuses.

“Those sanctioned today, from the judicial figures using the death penalty for political ends to the thugs beating protesters on the streets, are at the heart of the regime’s brutal repression of the Iranian people,” British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said in a statement Monday.

Other than the individuals, Monday’s sanctions also targeted the The IRGC Cooperative Foundation, which manages personal and business financial interest for members of the country’s Revolutionary Guard.

In 2019, the United States declared the IRGC, itself, as a foreign terrorist organization.

A total of 164 Iranian individuals and 31 entities are now under economic sanctions from the EU.

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