The United States has announced sanctions against the Iranian government over its recent attacks on protesters.
Thousands of Iranians have taken to the streets of the country following the death of a young woman in the custody of the police.
Last week, 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died while in the custody of Iran’s Morality Police, after she was detained for allegedly wearing a hijab headscarf in an “improper” way.
Activists said the woman, whose Kurdish first name is Jhina, had suffered a fatal blow to the head, a claim denied by officials, who had announced an investigation.
In reaction to the nationwide protest, the Iranian government had proceeded on a crackdown which led to the death of at least 17 people.
A statement released by the United State’s Department of the Treasury on Thursday, unveiled sanctions against Iran’s Morality Police and Senior Security Officials in light of the violence perpetuated against citizens protesting the death of Mahsa Amini.
The statement read in part, “Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control is designating Iran’s Morality Police for abuse and violence against Iranian women and the violation of the rights of peaceful Iranian protestors.
“The Morality Police are responsible for the recent death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was arrested and detained for allegedly wearing a hijab improperly. OFAC is also targeting seven senior leaders of Iran’s security organisations: the Morality Police, Ministry of Intelligence and Security, the Army’s Ground Forces, Basij Resistance Forces, and Law Enforcement Forces.
“These officials oversee organisations that routinely employ violence to suppress peaceful protesters and members of Iranian civil society, political dissidents, women’s rights activists, and members of the Iranian Baha’i community,”
In the release, Secretary of the Treasury, Janet L. Yellen described Amini as “a courageous woman whose death in Morality Police custody was yet another act of brutality by the Iranian regime’s security forces against its own people.”
“We condemn this unconscionable act in the strongest terms and call on the Iranian government to end its violence against women and its ongoing violent crackdown on free expression and assembly.
“Today’s action to sanction Iran’s Morality Police and senior Iranian security officials responsible for this oppression demonstrates the Biden – Harris Administration’s clear commitment to stand up for human rights, and the rights of women, in Iran and globally,” she said.