US ban 12 Iranians, 2 entities for protest, internet crackdowns

WASHINGTON

The US levied sanctions against 12 Iranian officials and 2 Wednesday for an ongoing crackdown on mass demonstrations prompted by the death of Mahsa Amini, who died while in police custody.

The Treasury Department said it was taking the action in response to “the brutal ongoing crackdown on nationwide protests in Iran,” as well as government efforts to restrict internet access in the country.

“Forty days after the tragic death of Mahsa Amini, Iranians continue to bravely protest in the face of brutal suppression and disruption of internet access,” Brian Nelson, the Treasury Department’s undersecretary for financial intelligence, said in a statement.

“The United States imposing new sanctions on Iranian officials overseeing organizations involved in violent crackdowns and killings, including of children, as part of our commitment to hold all levels of the Iranian government accountable for its repression,” he added.

Among those designated are Mohammad Kazemi, the Commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Intelligence Organization and Abbas Nilforushan, the IRGC’s deputy commander for operations.

Hossein Modarres Khiabani, the governor of Iran’s Sistan and Baluchistan province, which has seen repeated bloody crackdowns by government forces, has also been blacklisted, as has Ahmad Shafahi, the commander of the IRGC’s regional military unit.

The US also sanctioned four senior prison officials, including the head of Evin Prison and the warden at “Sanandaj Central Prison in Kurdistan province.”

Two members of the Ministry of Intelligence and Security were blacklisted along with a school they co-founded that trains student in cybersecurity and hacking, and recruits students for the ministry, said the department.

Samane Gostar Sahab Pardaz Private Limited Company, which the Treasury Department said “is one of the main operators of social media filtering services in Iran” was also sanctioned.

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