US condemns Iran for its human rights abuses, imposes sanctions on two IRGC officials

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On Tuesday, the US State Department imposed sanctions on two of Iran’s officials on grounds of human rights abuses. Ali Hemmatian and Masoud Safdari served as interrogators of Iranian elite army wing, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), and were accused to badly treating and violating human rights during 2019 and 2020 protests in Iran. The sanctions were also extended to their immediate family members who now have been barred from entering the United States.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the two were blacklisted because of “their involvement in gross violations of human rights, namely the torture and/or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment of political prisoners and persons detained during protests in 2019 and 2020 in Iran”.

Mr Blinken emphasised that the US reached out to the Human Rights Council in Geneva to raise its “concerns about the abuses the Iranian government continues to perpetrate against its citizens, including the unjust detention of far too many in deplorable conditions”.

“The United States will continue to support the rights of people in Iran and demand the Iranian government treat its people with respect and dignity… We will continue to consider all appropriate tools to impose costs on those responsible for human rights violations and abuses in Iran,” Blinken added in his statement.

Read more : UN report slams Iran’s child marriage practices, calls its legal marriage age as “simply unacceptable”

These are the first sanctions imposed by the US administration under Joe Biden’s presidency. Observers believed that Biden era’s approach towards Iran was more specific and focused than his predecessor Donald Trump, who levied general and broad sanctions on Tehran. The decisions come around the same time as both the nations started working towards negotiating terms for resuming 2015 nuclear treaty. In 2018, Trump walked out of the nuclear agreement signed between Iran and world powers and thumped heavy sanctions in return crumpling Tehran’s economy.

Biden administration is yet to lift the sanctions imposed by the previous administration but proposed that US would repeal the economic sanctions on Iran only if Tehran starts adhering to the terms of the 2015 accord, with regard to its nuclear development program. Iran began to breach the treaty after Trump withdrew from it.

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