The US government on Thursday imposed sanctions on Iran’s morality police and other government officials after the death of a woman who had been arrested for violating the country’s dress code by wearing her Islamic headscarf too loosely.
The sanctions come after at least nine protesters have been killed in clashes with Iranian security forces since violence erupted over the weekend over the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini.
The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control has also designated the leaders of Iran’s Intelligence and Security Ministry, the Army’s Ground Forces, the Basij Resistance Forces and other law enforcement agencies for sanctions, denying them access to their properties and bank accounts. in the US
“These officials oversee organizations that often use violence to suppress peaceful protesters and members of Iranian civil society, political dissidents, women’s rights activists, and members of the Iranian Baha’i community,” the Treasury said in a statement.
Morale police arrested Amini last week, saying she did not properly cover her hair with the Islamic headscarf, called the hijab, which is compulsory for Iranian women. Amini collapsed at the police station and died three days later.
Police say he died of a heart attack and deny that he was mistreated. The government released a video showing the moment he fell. His family says he had no history of heart problems, and his death in custody sparked the courage to defy protesters, who faced beatings and arrests.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the US is calling on the Iranian government to “end its violence against women and its continued suppression of free speech and assembly.”
“Mahsa Amini was a brave woman whose death in police custody is yet another act of brutality by Iran’s security forces against its own people,” Yellen said.
Amini’s death sent Iranians into the streets of Tehran and other parts of the country. Many Iranians, especially young people, have seen her death as part of the Islamic Republic’s police crackdown on dissidents and the mistreatment of young women by moral police.
An anchor on Iranian state television suggested the death toll from the mass protests could reach 17, but did not say how he arrived at that figure.