Updated Jan 9, 2022 - World

Iran sanctions more than 50 Americans for 2020 Soleimani killing

A crowd gathers during commemorations marking the second anniversary of the killing of top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis (posters).
A crowd gathers on Jan. 8 during commemorations marking the second anniversary of the killing of top Iranian Cmdr. Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi Cmdr. Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. Photo: Hussein Faleh/AFP via Getty Images

Iran on Saturday sanctioned more than 50 U.S. officials over the 2020 assassination of Qasem Soleimani, one of the regime's most powerful military figures.

The big picture: The additional sanctions announced by the Iranian Foreign Ministry on Saturday come after the second anniversary of the Jan. 3, 2020, drone strike that killed Soleimani, the commander of Iran's regional network of proxies and international intelligence and terror operations.

  • Those on the list include: Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Central Command chief Kenneth McKenzie, as well as other Pentagon officials and commanders overseeing U.S. bases across the region.
  • A year ago, Iran imposed similar sanctions on former President Trump, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and eight others.

What they're saying: "Make no mistake: the United States of America will protect and defend its citizens," national security adviser Jake Sullivan said in a statement Sunday.

  • "As Americans, we have our disagreements on politics," he added. "But we are united in our resolve against threats and provocations."
  • "We will work with our allies and partners to deter and respond to any attacks carried out by Iran," he added. "Should Iran attack any of our nationals, including any of the 52 people named yesterday, it will face severe consequences."

Of note: The sanctions are more of a symbolic step as the Americans don't hold any assets in Iran for authorities to seize.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include the statement from Sullivan.

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