The United States sanctioned Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli for alleged role in serious human rights abuses against its citizens, including giving orders to the police to use lethal force on protestors. Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said in a statement that the Iranian regime violently suppresses dissent of the Iranian people, including peaceful protests, through physical and psychological abuse.
“The United States will continue to hold accountable Iranian officials and institutions that oppress and abuse their own people,” he added.
The department said that the orders of Rahmani Fazli, who holds the title of “Deputy or Replacement Commander-in-Chief of Police Forces”, were aimed at quashing peaceful protests and suppress the rights of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression at any cost. It added that the Interior Minister’s orders led to the killing of many protesters, including at least 23 minors.
“One of these victims, Sayed Ali Mousavi, only 12 years old, was returning home from school when he was fatally shot by police as he passed by the protests near his home,” said the department.
In a separate statement, the US State Department said that Rahmani Fazli and his immediate family members are ineligible for entry into the United States. It asserted that the US sanctions are aimed at sending a message of support to the Iranian people that they will continue to support their demands for transparent and accountable governance and speak out for those who are being silenced by the current regime.
The sanctions have also been imposed on seven senior officials of Iran’s Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) and a provincial commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The US Treasury Department accused LEF of playing a key role in government crackdowns on protesters and operating detention centres associated with physical and psychological abuses.
“The LEF has begun to crack down on Afghan migrants in Iran, sending them to deportation centers where the IRGC has reportedly coerced many into fighting for Iranian militias in Syria,” the department added.