The US has announced it will impose sanctions on senior Iranian security officials and Iran’s morality police following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini.
She had been detained for allegedly not wearing the hijab (headscarf) properly.
“In response to this and other human rights abuses in Iran – including the violent crackdown on peaceful protests – the United States is imposing sanctions on Iran’s Morality Police and senior security officials who have been involved in serious human rights abuses, according to the Executive Order 13553.” Blinken said in a statement. “The Ethics Police, an element of Iran’s Law Enforcement Forces (LEF), arrests women for wearing ‘inappropriate’ hijabs and imposes other restrictions on freedom of expression. The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) further designates Hajj Ahmad Mirzaei and Mohammad Rostami Cheshmeh Gachi, both of whom are senior Ethics Police officers.
IRAN PROTESTS: 9 DEAD IN escalating riot as protesters set fire to police stations
The Treasury Department’s OFAC also targeted seven senior officials of Iran’s security organizations.
“These individuals were all involved in the suppression and killing of non-violent protesters,” Blinken noted.
“The Iranian government must end its systemic persecution of women and allow peaceful protest. The United States will continue to express our support for human rights in Iran and hold those who violate them accountable,” she said.
“Mahsa Amini was a courageous woman whose death in the custody of the Ethics Police was yet another act of violence by the Iranian regime’s security forces against its people,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a statement. “We condemn this senseless act in the strongest terms and call on the Iranian government to end violence against women and the continued violent suppression of freedom of expression and assembly. the clear commitment of the Biden-Harris administration to defend human and women’s rights, in Iran and worldwide.”
At least nine protesters have been killed in clashes with Iranian security forces since violence erupted over the weekend following Amini’s death.
IRAN’S ‘MORAL POLICE’ ACCUSED OF KILLING WOMAN NOT WEARING HIJAM PROPERLY, PROVOKING PROTESTS
Amini was arrested on September 14 by the LEF’s Moral Police, who said she did not properly cover her hair with the Islamic headscarf, which is compulsory for Iranian women, and sent her to an “education and orientation” class at headquarters of the police.
He was taken to hospital the same day in a coma and died two days later from internal injuries.
The government released video purported to show the moment it collapsed.
“Eyewitnesses claim that Amini died from injuries sustained while in custody by the Ethics Police. Mahsa’s father told the press that authorities covered up bruises on her body at the hospital and refused to let the family see them. Her authorities LEF blamed her death on a heart condition, but her family said she had no such condition,” the department noted, adding that Iran’s Morality Police has demonstrated a culture of violence and excessive force under Rostami’s orders.
An anchor on Iran’s state television said the death toll from the mass protests could reach 17, but did not say how he arrived at that number.
The UN human rights office has called for an investigation into the matter.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.