Sep 15, 2023 - World

U.S. issues new Iran sanctions on anniversary of Mahsa Amini's death

signs at a protest at the Iranian consulate on October 31, 2022 in İstanbul,

Signs at a protest over Mahsa Amini's death, at the Iranian consulate in Oct. 2022 in İstanbul. Photo: Omer Kuscu/ dia images via Getty Images

The U.S. said on Friday it was issuing a new round of sanctions targeting Iranian individuals and entities that played a role in the "violent suppression" of protests that rocked the country following the death of Mahsa Amini in police custody a year ago.

Driving the news: The death of Amini, who died on Sept. 16, 2022, after being detained by the country's morality police for allegedly violating a religious law requiring women to wear headscarves, prompted mass calls for greater rights and freedoms for women in Iran.

  • Iranian security services responded with a violent crackdown, including making thousands of arrests and shutting down the internet. Hundreds were killed in the protests, according to rights groups.

Details: The Treasury Department announced Friday that it was designating 29 individuals and entities, including 18 members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Law Enforcement Forces (LEF).

  • Individuals connected to the Iranian government's internet blockade and human rights abuses were also sanctioned, Treasury said.
  • The new sanctions are the 13th round issued by the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) in connection to the protests over Amini's death, per the department.
  • The State Department will concurrently impose visa restrictions on 13 Iranians believed to be involved in the "detention or killing of peaceful protestors or inhibiting their rights to freedom of expression or assembly."

What they're saying: "Mahsa's story did not end with her brutal death," President Biden said in a statement Friday commemorating the anniversary.

  • "She inspired a historic movement—Woman, Life, Freedom—that has impacted Iran and influenced people across the globe who are tirelessly advocating for gender equality and respect for their human rights, " President Biden said in a statement Friday," he added.
  • Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a video statement: "As the epitaph on Ms. Amini's grave reads, 'Her name will become a symbol.' Indeed, it has. And it will always be a reminder of the courage of the Iranian people."

State of play: The protests, which gradually dwindled in size amid the crackdown, represented the largest demonstration against the Iranian government in years.

  • "In anticipation of the anniversary of Mahsa Amini's death, Iranian authorities have proactively arrested activists in an effort to dissuade others from resuming anti-government protests," the Treasury Department noted.
  • This included the arrests of 12 female rights activists, who were accused of planning to incite "chaos and vandalism" on the upcoming anniversary, the New York Times reported.
  • In recent days, police have been more present on the streets of Tehran, conducting snap checkpoints, and internet access has been disrupted, AP reported.
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