Oct 26, 2022 - World

U.S. issues new Iran sanctions as protesters mark 40 days since Mahsa Amini's death

Protesters hold placards while chanting

Protesters hold placards while chanting slogans outside the Iranian Consulate in Istanbul during a demonstration on Oct. 22. Photo: Onur Dogman/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The U.S. Treasury issued new sanctions on Wednesday against a slate of Iranian individuals and two companies in connection to the government's ongoing crackdown on protests over the death of Mahsa Amini and efforts to suppress digital freedom in the country.

Why it matters: The sanctions were issued on the 40th day since Amini's death, a significant day in Shiite Islam that marks the end of the traditional mourning period.

State of play: Ten Iranian officials were among those sanctioned, including two leaders of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps' intelligence and operations arms and five prison officials, according to the Treasury Department press release.

  • Two members of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) were also sanctioned, as was a school that trains and recruits hackers for the MOIS.
  • An Iranian company that "actively provides censorship, surveillance, and espionage tools to the Government" was also sanctioned.
  • Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced Wednesday that the State Department was concurrently sanctioning two more individuals and Iran's Bushehr Prison for their roles in human rights abuses.
  • The new sanctions come on top of previous sanctions on Iranian officials and the morality police in the wake of Amini's death.

What they're saying: “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, Treasury undersecretary, in the press release.

  • “The United States is 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.”
  • "We are committed to supporting the people of Iran as they demand their fundamental freedoms. Iranian officials should be listening to the protestors, not firing on them. Our actions today call out the repressors," Blinken tweeted Wednesday.

The big picture: Hundreds of protesters gathered in the streets of Amini's hometown of Saqqez on Wednesday as a procession made its way to her grave to commemorate the 40th day since her death, AP reported.

  • Iran's security services had allegedly warned Amini's family not to hold the traditional ceremony, the Guardian reported.
  • “Security forces have shot teargas and opened fire on people in Zindan Square, Saqqez city,” Hengaw, a Kurdish human rights group, tweeted Wednesday.
  • Security forces reportedly also cut internet access in Saqqez for "security reasons," the Guardian reported, citing local media reports.
  • Labor strikes across Iran in recent days — including among teachers and factory workers — have added to the momentum of anti-government protesters, per the Wall Street Journal.
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