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DIPLOMACY

US sanctions Iranian officials over crackdown on protesters, internet access

US sanctions Iranian officials over crackdown on protesters, internet access

USA and Iranian flags are seen in this illustration taken, Sept. 8, 2022. (Credit: REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

WASHINGTON — The United States on Thursday imposed sanctions on seven Iranian officials over the shutdown of internet access and the crackdown on peaceful protesters following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in the custody of morality police.

In a statement, the US Treasury Department said it imposed sanctions on Iran's minister of interior, Ahmad Vahidi; Communications Minister Eisa Zarepour; and Vahid Mohammad Naser Majid, the head of the Iranian Cyber Police, among others.

"The United States condemns the Iranian government’s internet shutdown and continued violent suppression of peaceful protest and will not hesitate to target those who direct and support such actions," Under Secretary of the Treasury Brian Nelson said in the statement.

The nationwide unrest sparked by Amini's death has spiraled into the biggest challenge to Iran's clerical leadership in years, with protesters calling for the downfall of the Islamic Republic, founded in 1979.

Rights groups say thousands have been arrested and hundreds injured in the crackdown waged by security forces, including the Basij, a volunteer militia affiliated with Iran's Revolutionary Guards. Rights groups put the death toll at over 150.

The United States imposed sanctions on Iran's morality police last month over allegations of abuse of Iranian women, saying it held the unit responsible for the death of Amini, an Iranian Kurd who died after being detained in Tehran on Sept. 13 for "inappropriate attire."

Authorities have reported numerous deaths among the security forces, accusing foreign adversaries, including the United States, of meddling to destabilize Iran.

Reporting contributed by Daphne Psaledakis.


WASHINGTON — The United States on Thursday imposed sanctions on seven Iranian officials over the shutdown of internet access and the crackdown on peaceful protesters following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in the custody of morality police.In a statement, the US Treasury Department said it imposed sanctions on Iran's minister of interior, Ahmad Vahidi; Communications Minister Eisa...