The US on Thursday (September 22) announced sanctions on Iran’s morality police which is in news due to the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini who was taken into custody over “unsuitable attire”. Amini’s death in custody has sparked fierce protests across Iran. The US said it held the morality police responsible for Amini’s death.
The US Treasury Department also accused the morality police of violating the rights of peaceful protesters and said it had imposed sanctions on seven senior Iranian military and security officials, including the chief of the Iranian army’s ground forces.
Public protests in Iran are not showing any signs of abatement. Protesters also torched police stations and vehicles earlier on Thursday. They were reports of security forces coming under attack. Iranian authorities have said that there will be an investigation into the cause of Amini’s death.
“Mahsa Amini was a courageous woman whose death in Morality Police custody was yet another act of brutality by the Iranian regime’s security forces against its own people,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a statement.
“The Iranian government needs to end its systemic persecution of women and allow peaceful protest,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a separate statement.
Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of US House of Representatives also tweeted in support of the protests.
“The courageous voices of the Iranian people are being heard around the world. The United States Congress joins them in mourning the horrific death of Mahsa Amini. Tehran must end its violent, systematic campaign of abuse against women and girls,” Pelosi tweeted.
Iran’s Mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the sanctions.
The senior officials designated included the morality police’s head, Mohammad Rostami Cheshmeh Gachi; the commander of the Iranian army’s ground forces, Kiyumars Heidari; and Esmail Khatib, Iran’s minister of intelligence, the Treasury said.
It identified the others as Haj Ahmad Mirzaei, head of the morality police’s Tehran division during Amini’s detention and death; Salar Abnoush, deputy commander of Iran’s hardline Basij militia; Qasem Rezaei and Manouchehr Amanollahi of Iran’s Law Enforcement Forces.
(With inputs from agencies)
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