The U.S. Treasury blacklisted on Friday six Iranians and three Iran-based entities in its third measure since President Donald Trump announced his country's withdrawal from the nuclear deal and vowed a strong return of sanctions.
The sanctions, announced on the US Treasury’s website, also targeted the group Ansar-e Hezbollah and the Hanista Programming Group.
Ansar-e Hizballah is a political group sanctioned for supporting Iran’s top political and spiritual official Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and has been tied to the violent suppression of Iranian citizens, including street attacks against protesters.
Three of the group's leaders, including the organization's Mashhad branch top official Hamid Ostad.
Ostad, who founded the Mashhad branch of Ansar-e Hizballah, was implicated in a mob attack against the Saudi Arabia Consulate in Mashhad in 2016.
“Iran not only exports terrorism and instability across the world, it routinely violates the rights of its own people. The Iranian regime diverts national resources that should belong to the people to fund a massive and expensive censorship apparatus and suppress free speech,” said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin.
Abolhassan Firouzabadi and Abdolsamad Khoramabadi were also sanctioned for having engaged in censorship or other activities with respect to Iran that prohibit, limit, or penalize citizens of Iran.
Firouzabadi is responsible for the Iranian government’s efforts to block social media applications like Telegram and to force Iranians to use state-run applications that are monitored by the regime.
As the Secretary of Iran’s Supreme Council of Cyberspace, Firouzabadi heads the country’s top Internet policymaking body and oversees the regime’s attempts to censor speech and media.
As the Secretary of the Committee to Determine Instances of Criminal Content, Khoramabadi has overseen the filtering and blocking of political content during elections. In 2017, Abdolsamad Khoramabadi tasked the Basij to lead the regime’s crackdown on cyberactivity and claimed that the country had thousands of monitors to report violations of websites and social media networks.
Evin Prison was also blacklisted for acting on behalf of the Government of Iran (including members of paramilitary organizations) who is responsible for ordering serious human rights abuses against prisoners.
Prisoners held at Evin Prison are subject to brutal tactics inflicted by prison authorities, including sexual assaults, physical assaults, and electric shock.
Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) maintain permanent wards in Evin Prison where they hold political prisoners.
And while senior regime officials regularly downplay the torture and abuse that occurs in Evin Prison, the abuse of prisoners, including political prisoners, continues once sham inspections into the prison conditions end.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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