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U.S. adds more sanctions against Iran for human rights abuses

By Elise Labott, CNN Senior State Department Producer
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U.S. sanctions Iran for human rights abuse
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Obama administration adds more sanctions against Iranian government officials
  • New sanctions block assets of specified Iranian officials
  • U.S. citizens prevented from engaging in business with those individuals
RELATED TOPICS
  • Iran

Washington (CNN) -- Citing "mounting evidence" of repression of the Iranian opposition, the Obama administration added more sanctions against Iranian government officials, members of the Revolutionary Guards Corps and others accused by the United States of being responsible for human rights abuses.

The sanctions, announced Wednesday by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, block the assets of, and prohibit U.S. citizens from engaging in any business with, those on the list, which includes the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, the country's prosecutor general, and the ministers of welfare and intelligence.

"On these officials' watch or under their command Iranian citizens have been arbitrarily, beaten, tortured, raped, blackmailed and killed," Clinton said. "Yet the Iranian government has ignored repeated calls from the international community to end these abuses, to hold to account those responsible, and respect the rights and fundamental freedoms of its citizens."

"Today we declare our solidarity with their victims and with all Iranians who wish for a government that respects their human rights and their dignity and their freedom," she said.

Geithner emphasized the measures would not harm the whole country, rather the sanctions were designed to target those who engage in behavior that harms the Iranian people.

"We have found that when we single out Iran's bad actors and expose their illicit conduct--banks, businesses, and governments around the world respond by cutting off dealings with these individuals, groups and businesses," he said, adding the measures would send a message across the world about the risks to continued business with Iran, just as with the recent sanctions against Iran's nuclear business.

The US has been increasing its criticism of Iran's goverment's human rights record since President Mahmoud Amhadinejad's disputed landslide election victory unleashed massive demonstrations in the country. Iran's leaders called the uprising a foreign-led plot to overthrow the regime. It cracked down on the protesters, with many killed and even more jailed. Images of the bloody crackdown fueled worldwide outrage.

Clinton said that new legislation passed earlier this year gives the administration tools to impose sanctions against Iranian officials where there are credible evidence against them. But she acknowledged the administration was "also very mindful" since last year's election about messages from the opposition about keeping a low profile.

"We had to be careful that this indigenous opposition that we certainly had nothing to do with, that was attempting to stand up for the rights of the Iranian people, was not somehow seen as a U.S. enterprise, because it wasn't," she said, adding: "And so walking that line in trying to be both encouraging, forthright and strong in our support of the fundamental rights and freedoms of the Iranian people, at the same time not giving any reason for the Iranians to claim that this reaction from within was somehow either motivated or directed or connected with us, required a balancing act.

The order targets Mohammad Ali Jafari, Commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC); Sadeq Mahsouli, current minister of welfare and security and former minister of the Interior; Qolam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejei, current prosecutor general of Iran and former minister of intelligence; Saeed Mortazavi, former prosecutor-general of Tehran; Heydar Moslehi, minister of Intelligence; Mostafa Mohammad Najjar, current minister of the Interior and former deputy commander of the armed forces for law enforcement; Ahmad-Reza Radan, deputy chief of Iran's National Police; and Hossein Taeb, current deputy IRGC commander for intelligence and former commander of the IRGC's Basij Forces.

 
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