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United States Secretary Sanctions Iranian Police Amid Mahsa Amini Outrage and Protests

© AP Photo / Chung Sung-JunU.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen attends a meeting with South Korean Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance Choo Kyung-ho at Lotte Hotel in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, July 19, 2022
U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen attends a meeting with South Korean Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance Choo Kyung-ho at Lotte Hotel in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, July 19, 2022 - Sputnik International, 1920, 22.09.2022
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Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman, died while in the custody of the Islamic republic’s “morality police” last week after she allegedly broke hijab rules. In what has been compared to the United State’s George Floyd protests, protesters in Iran have been demonstrating for a week, with some women cutting their hair and setting their hijabs on fire.
Protests ignited across Tehran after news broke of a 22-year-old’s brutal death at the hands of Iran’s “morality police” after she allegedly broke conservative dress codes relating to her hijab. Amini died on Friday in northern Tehran after being arrested on Tuesday and taken to hospital shortly thereafter. She suffered multiple blows to the head, one source reported, leaving her brain dead.
On Thursday, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued sanctions against Iran’s notorious morality police and seven senior security officials within the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS), the Army’s Ground Forces, Basij Resistance Forces, and Law Enforcement Forces, for what they’re labeling as abuse and violence against Iranian protestors and for the death of Amini.
“Mahsa Amini was 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,” said Janet L. Yellen, the secretary of the Treasury. “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,” Yellen added.
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The statement adds that the sanctions imposed on Iran’s military police and senior security officials is in accordance with Executive Order 13553, which first came into effect under former President Barack Obama’s administration in 2010, and blocks the property of certain people “with respect to serious human rights abuses by the government of Iran and taking certain other actions.”
Protests have broken out across cities and towns in Iran, with protestors chanting “Death to the Dictator” and damaging police vehicles. On Thursday, it was reported by the Associated Press that at least nine people had been killed during the protests, though that number is estimated to be higher. Internet watchdog Netblocks said on Wednesday evening that mobile networks were shut down in the country amid the protests, with disruptions to Instagram and WhatsApp occurring, and that Iran’s biggest telecom operator shut down a majority of mobile internet access again on Thursday.
During a United Nations General Assembly on Thursday, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said Amini’s death would be investigated but also claimed that her death was not caused by police abuse.
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