The United States on Wednesday targeted Iran’s prosecutor general in its latest sanctions over a crackdown on major protests, deploring his role in executions.
“We again call on Iran’s leadership to immediately cease its violent crackdown and to listen to its people. We will continue to promote accountability for those involved as we support the Iranian people,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.
The Treasury Department said that the prosecutor general, Mohammad Jafar Montazeri, was responsible for human rights abuses including torture and death-penalty trials of protesters.
The hanging earlier this month of Mohsen Shekari, the first person known to be executed over the protests, bore “little resemblance to a meaningful trial,” a Treasury Department statement said.
Montazeri drew widespread attention earlier this month when he was quoted as saying that the state was abolishing the morality police, which enforces strict codes on women’s dress.
The protests, Iran’s most widespread in years, broke out after the death in the morality police’s custody in September of a 22-year-old woman.
But Montazeri’s apparently off-the-cuff remarks drew skepticism and there were no signs of follow-up in ending the notorious unit.
Also hit by the sanctions was company Imen Sanat Zaman Fara, the manufacturer of vehicles used in crowd suppression, and four officials from the elite Revolutionary Guards including one involved in monitoring the internet.
The move blocks any US assets and criminalizes transactions with targeted officials and companies, who are not known to have significant holdings in the United States — which already maintains sweeping sanctions against the clerical state.