Accusing Iran’s Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli of committing human rights violation, the United States has imposed sanctions on him.
Fazli is responsible for allowing the Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) of Iran to use lethal force in response to anti-government protests in November, leading to the killing of protesters, including at least 23 minors, as per the the U.S. Treasury Department.
“His – and the regime’s – goal was to quash these peaceful protests and suppress the rights of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression at any cost,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a separate statement.
The US also blacklisted seven senior officials of the LEF, including commander Hossein Ashtari Fard, and a provincial commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, for their roles in the suppression of protesters.
The LEF Cooperative Foundation, which is controlled by the LEF and is active in Iran’s energy, construction, services, technology and banking industries – was also blacklisted, as were its director and members of the board of trustees.
The action by the treasury lead to freezing any U.S.-held assets of those blacklisted and generally bars Americans from dealing with them. The US also banned Rahmani Fazli and Ali Fallahian, the head of Iran’s intelligence service from 1989 to 1997, from entering to the United States. The State Department said Fallahian was involved in assassinations and attacks around the world.
“The United States will continue to hold accountable Iranian officials and institutions that oppress and abuse their own people,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.
Tensions between Washington and Tehran have worsened since U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew in 2018 from the Iran nuclear deal and began reimposing sanctions eased under the accord.