The United States put more sanctions on Iran Monday in response to how the regime is handling protesters. The sanctions are meant to pressure the Islamic rulers from the outside as the protests continue.
The sanctions were coordinated with the E.U. and Britain. The Treasury Department announced the sanctions will target a foundation linked to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Five of its board members, four senior IRGC commanders and Iran’s deputy minister of intelligence and security will be sanctioned.
The United States and its allies believe that the regime remains vulnerable because of the anti-regime protests which are still going on. They began in mid-September when a 22-year-old woman was arrested and jailed for improperly wearing a headscarf. She died from her injuries suffered during her arrest.
This is the ninth round of U.S. sanctions put into effect because of the regime’s oppression of protesters. Unfortunately, the regime is resilient. The clerics have survived decades of Western sanctions. The protest movement may be subsiding in some areas but remains active in others. There has been a noticeable slowdown in protests since the public executions began. Protesters have been publicly hung from cranes and their bodies left dangling in the air as a means of intimidation toward the protesters.
U.S. officials said the human rights violations warrant a tough response from the international community.
“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 protestors, and other means of suppressing its people,” Undersecretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson said in a news release.
The people sanctioned include: Naser Rashedi, the deputy minister; Hossein Tanavar, the IRGC commander in the city of Qom; Mohammad Nazar Azimi, the IRGC commander of the West Region Headquarters in Kermanshah; Kourosh Asiabani, the IRGC deputy commander of the West Region; and Mojtaba Fada, the IRGC commander in Isfahan Province.
The U.S. sanctions are being imposed under legal categories related to human rights. According to the State Department, the IRGC Cooperative Foundation also has previously been designated under counterproliferation and counterterrorism authorities.
The European Union also imposed sanctions on Monday on dozens of Iranian officials and organizations. Those sanctioned include a government minister, regional governors and lawmakers. They are suspected in the crackdown on protesters. However, the E.U. did not add Iran’s Revolutionary Guard to its terror group blacklist.
At a meeting in Brussels, EU foreign ministers agreed to slap a travel ban and asset freeze on Iran’s Sports and Youth Minister Hamid Sajjadi, accusing him of pressuring Iran’s athletes into silence, including an Iranian climber who competed without Islamic headdress at a competition in Seoul.
The Iranian Special Police Forces were also targeted, accused of using “excessive violence and lethal force against unarmed protestors, including women and children … by firing automatic weapons at protestors.”
Another asset freeze was imposed on the Headquarters for Enjoining Right and Forbidding Evil, an Iranian government institution that the EU believes is responsible “for determining and enforcing excessively strict behavioral models in society.”
Companies linked to cyber security, spyware, social media filtering, and the production of security equipment allegedly used in the crackdown were also hit. Restrictive measures were slapped on senior officers from the Revolutionary Guard and some of its regional units.
What does it take for the Revolutionary Guard to be put on the terror blacklist, I wonder? They certainly behave as terrorists. They kill their own people with impunity.
The E.U. 27-nation bloc has imposed three rounds of sanctions on Iranian officials and organizations before the latest ones on Monday. Sanctions have been placed on ministers, military officers, and the morality police. The morality police is blamed for the arrest and death of Mahsa Amini, the 22-year-old allegedly improperly wearing a headscarf in public.
I’d like to be optimistic and believe that this time the public anti-regime protests will work and the regime will be overthrown. However, the regime has survived this long and doesn’t look like it’s going to end its reign any time soon. I admire the courage and persistence of those risking their lives to protest for basic human rights and freedom. Wouldn’t it be nice if the leader of the free world offered words of encouragement to them? The United States used to do that sort of thing.