Treasury sanctions morality police and senior Iranian security officials for violence against protesters and death of Mahsa Amini
WASHINGTON — Today, the United States Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is designating Iran’s morality police for abuse and violence against Iranian women and violating the rights of peaceful Iranian protesters. The Morality Police are responsible for the recent death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was arrested and detained for allegedly wearing a hijab improperly.
OFAC is also targeting seven senior leaders of Iran’s security organizations: the Morality Police, the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS), the Army Ground Forces, the Basij Resistance Forces, and the Army Forces. ‘order. These officials oversee organizations that regularly 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.
“Mahsa Amini was a brave woman whose death while in the custody of the morality police was another act of brutality by the Iranian regime’s security forces against her own people,” said Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yelen. “We condemn this unconscionable act in the strongest terms and call on the Iranian government to end its violence against women and its continued violent crackdown on freedom of expression and assembly. Today’s action to sanction Iran’s morality police and senior Iranian security officials responsible for this oppression demonstrates the Biden-Harris administration’s clear commitment to defending human rights and women’s rights. , in Iran and in the world.
Today’s actions are taken pursuant to Executive Order (EO) 13553, which imposes sanctions on certain individuals for serious human rights abuses by the Iranian government.
Iranian morality police
from iran Morality Police is the component of the Iranian Law Enforcement Force (LEF) responsible for enforcing the laws of the country against the shamelessness and vices of society. The LEF, the Iranian government’s main security apparatus dedicated to crowd control and protest suppression, played a key role in suppressing protesters following Iran’s disputed presidential election in 2009 and has been called upon to responding to multiple nationwide protests since then. , including the November 2019 protests against rising gasoline prices in which Iranian security forces killed at least hundreds of Iranian protesters. The Treasury designated the LEF pursuant to EO 13553 on June 9, 2011, for its role in the 2009 post-election crackdown.
On September 14, 2022, EWL Morality Police arrested 22-year-old Mahsa Amini for allegedly wearing a hijab inappropriately and sent her to an “education and orientation” course at the headquarters of the police. She was transferred to hospital the same day in a coma and died two days later from internal injuries. Eyewitnesses claim that Amini died from injuries sustained while in custody by the morality police. Mahsa’s father told the press that authorities covered up the bruises on her body in hospital and refused to let the family see them. LEF authorities blamed her death on heart disease, but her family said she had no such condition. The Iranian Morality Police are designated pursuant to EO 13553 for acting or purporting to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the Iranian LEF.
Mohammad Rostami Cheshmeh Gachi is the head of Iran’s morality police, who has demonstrated a culture of violence and excessive force under his command. In early 2022, Rostami said the morality police would punish Iranian women who refuse to wear the hijab. Hajj Ahmad Mirzaei served as head of the Tehran Division of Iran’s Morality Police during Amini’s unjust detention and untimely death. Rostami and Mirzaei are designated pursuant to EO 13553 for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf, directly or indirectly, of the Iranian LEF.
Senior Security Service Officials
Esmail Khatib is Iran’s Minister of Intelligence and head of MOIS, one of the main Iranian government security services responsible for serious human rights violations. Under his leadership, MOIS cracked down on scores of human rights defenders, women’s rights activists, journalists, filmmakers, and members of minority religious groups. MOIS has also aggressively persecuted people reporting human rights abuses and violations in Iran, as well as their families, and subjected detainees to torture in secret detention centers during its tenure.
Khatib is designated pursuant to EO 13553 for having acted or purporting to act for or on behalf of MOIS, directly or indirectly, and for being a person acting on behalf of the Government of Iran who is responsible for or complicit in, or responsible for directing, controlled or otherwise directed the commission of serious human rights violations against persons in Iran or Iranian citizens or residents, or family members thereof, on or after June 12, 2009. The Treasury had previously designated Khatib on September 9, 2022, in accordance with cybersecurity authorities for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf, directly or indirectly, of MOIS.
Salar Abnoush is the deputy commander of the Basij and has publicly described his role in commanding and controlling Basij forces during the November 2019 protests. The Basij have been linked to the killing of unarmed protesters on numerous occasions.
Qassem Rezaei was appointed Deputy Commander of the EWL in May 2020. As a senior EWL official, Rezaei is responsible for serious human rights violations committed by the EWL under his command. Rezaei also directly oversaw violence against detainees, including torture and beatings. He justified the actions of the LEF following the deadly use of force against Iranian protesters and called for continued violence against protesters in May 2022. As former LEF Borders Commander, Rezaei oversaw the harsh treatment of people on the Iranian border, including the use of direct fire against people on Iran’s borders.
Manouchehr Amanollahi is the LEF Commander of Iran’s Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari Province. During his tenure, the EWL suppressed 2,021 protests in the province in response to water shortages and 2,022 protests in response to food rationing. LEF units under Amanellahi’s command used live ammunition against protesters during the crackdown on protests, resulting in multiple deaths. As an advisor to the EWL leadership, Amanolahi was also involved in EWL’s response to the November 2019 nationwide protests, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of protesters.
Kiyumars Heidari is the commander of the ground forces of the Iranian army. He has publicly acknowledged his involvement and that of his forces in the violent response to the November 2019 protests which resulted in the deaths of at least hundreds of protesters.
Abnoush, Rezaei, Amanollahi and Heidari are all named in accordance with EO 13553 to be persons acting on behalf of the Iranian government (including members of paramilitary organizations) who are responsible for or complicit in, or responsible for ordering, controlled or otherwise directing the commission of serious human rights violations against persons in Iran or Iranian citizens or residents, or family members thereof, on or after June 12, 2009, whether such violations whether produced in Iran or not.
Consequences of sanctions
As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of individuals and entities that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. Persons must be blocked and reported to the OFAC. OFAC sanctions generally prohibit all transactions by U.S. persons or within the United States (including transactions transiting through the United States) that involve property or interests in the property of blocked persons or designated.
In addition, persons who engage in certain transactions with the persons or entities designated today may themselves be exposed to designation. In addition, any foreign financial institution that knowingly facilitates a material transaction or provides material financial services to any of the persons or entities named today could be subject to US correspondent or payment account sanctions.
OFAC’s sanctions authority and integrity stems not only from its ability to designate and add people to the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN List), but also from its willingness to remove people from the SDN list in accordance with the law. The ultimate goal of sanctions is not to punish, but to bring about positive behavior change. For more information on the process for requesting removal from an OFAC list, including the SDN list, please refer to OFAC’s 897 Frequently Asked Questions.
Identifying information about the individuals and entities named today.