The U.S. government has imposed sanctions on Iran's interior minister, senior police officials and a military commander for human rights abuses, including killing peaceful protesters.
"The Iranian regime violently suppresses dissent of the Iranian people, including peaceful protests, through physical and psychological abuse," U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Wednesday. "The United States will continue to hold accountable Iranian officials and institutions that oppress and abuse their own people."
The Treasury Department said Iran's interior minister and chairman of the National Domestic Security Council, Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli, has led security forces in killing hundreds of protesters over the years and in November 2019, including at least 23 minors.
Seven senior members of the Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) and an Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) general were also put under sanctions for their role in violent crackdowns on dissent.
The Treasury also alleged that the LEF operates detention centers associated with physical and psychological abuses and has led a crackdown on Afghan migrants in Iran, coercing them to fight for Iran-backed militias in Syria. The LEF is also alleged to be implicated in the torture and drowning earlier in May of Afghan nationals attempting to cross into Iran.
In addition, the LEF Foundation, known as Bonyad Taavon NAJA in Iran, was put under sanctions. The foundation is engaged in economic activity in Iran's energy, construction, services, technolog, and banking industries. Most of the newly sanctioned individuals are or were board directors at the foundation.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the sanctions "send a message of support to the Iranian people that we will continue to support their demands for transparent and accountable governance and speak out for those who are being silenced by this regime."
The sanctions bar U.S. nationals from conducting transactions with the sanctioned entities and seize their assets in the United States.
They also leave foreign companies and financial institutions that conduct transactions with sanctioned entities subject themselves to sanctions.
The United States had already imposed sweeping sanctions on Iran since President Donald Trump withdrew from Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers in 2018.