US sanctions Iranian officials for violations of women’s rights

The United States is imposing further sanctions on Iran, targeting individuals and companies accused of violating women’s rights during nationwide anti-government protests over the treatment of young women and girls.

Included in the sanctions are two prison officials, several companies that produce equipment for Iranian law enforcement agencies, the commander-in-chief of the Iranian military and others.

The first nationwide protests erupted over the September 16 death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while in the custody of Iran’s morality police. She was accused of violating Iran’s strict women’s dress code by wearing the headscarf improperly. Those protests continued for months.

Subsequently, a series of suspected poisonings in girls’ schools across the country, which sickened hundreds of students, fueled complaints about violations of women’s and girls’ rights and sparked protests.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement that the US government “remains deeply concerned that the Iranian authorities continue to crack down on dissent and peaceful protests, including through mass arrests, show trials, hasty executions, detention of journalists and use of sexual violence”. as a means of suppressing protests.”


Activists hold placard reading "Woman, Life, Freedom" with portraits of women killed in Iran, during an International Women's Day demonstration, in London on March 8, 2023.

Activists hold ‘Woman, Life, Freedom’ placards with portraits of women killed in Iran, during a demonstration to mark International Women’s Day, in London March 8, 2023. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)


Brian Nelson, undersecretary of the treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in a statement that the Iranian government “treats women like second-class citizens and tries to suppress their voices by any means”.

“We will continue to take action against the regime, which perpetuates abuse and violence against its citizens, especially women and girls,” Nelson said.

The latest sanctions were imposed in coordination with the European Union, the United Kingdom and Australia, with the announcement made on purpose on International Women’s Day.

Among other things, the sanctions deny individuals and businesses access to any property or financial assets held in the United States and prevent U.S. companies and citizens from doing business with them.

The United States has taken several steps to isolate Iran from the global community as protests continue. In November, the United States announced it was seeking to oust Iran from the United Nations’ main global body advocating for gender equality. Vice President Kamala Harris said Iran was “unfit” to serve on the commission and her presence “discredits the integrity” of its work.

In February, the Iranian government celebrated the 44th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, which brought a Shia theocracy to power.


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