New Treasury Sanctions for Human Rights Abuses

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on new sanctions:

          In June 2009, the world watched as Iran’s security forces violently suppressed thousands of Iranians who were calling for transparency and accountability in their government.  Nearly two years after Iran’s brave citizens took to the streets, the struggle for civil liberties and fundamental rights continues.  Today, the United States has sanctioned three Iranian government entities complicit in the ongoing brutal repression – the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the Basij Resistance Force, and Iran’s Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) – as well as LEF Commander Ismail Ahmadi Moghadam. 

          While Iran’s leaders hypocritically applaud protesters abroad calling for self-determination, many of Iran’s own citizens -- including founding members of the revolution--are being held as political prisoners merely for holding views contrary to Iran’s leaders.  Iranians are being executed for crimes based on dubious charges and without the due process guaranteed under Iran’s constitution.  Religious and ethnic minorities are intimidated and imprisoned, while women’s rights activists, human rights defenders, clerics, and labor leaders are targeted for retribution for seeking human rights for themselves and other Iranian citizens.  By barring many of Iran’s most accomplished artists, journalists, and academics from working, and forcing many to flee their homeland, the Iranian government restricts the space where free thought and expression can flourish.
          The United States stands with all Iranians who wish for a government that respects their human rights, their dignity and their freedom, and we call on the Iranian government to end its systematic human rights abuses and political hypocrisy.  Today’s sanctions reflect our commitment to hold accountable those governments and officials that violate human rights and deprive their citizens of the opportunities and future they deserve.


Department of Treasury and State Announce Sanctions of Iranian Security Forces for Human Rights Abuses
         The Departments of the Treasury and State today imposed sanctions against three entities and one individual at the core of Iran’s security apparatus for being responsible for or complicit in serious human rights abuses in Iran since the June 2009 disputed presidential election. Today’s action targeted Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the Basij Resistance Force (Basij), and Iran’s national police and its Chief – all of which  share responsibility for the sustained and severe violation of human rights in Iran.
         “Today’s action exposes Iran’s willingness to turn the machinery of the state, at its highest levels, against its own people to violently suppress their democratic aspirations,” said Office of Foreign Assets Control Director Adam Szubin. “As long as this denial of basic human rights continues, we will remain vigilant in our efforts to isolate those responsible from the international financial system.”
         Today’s action was taken pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13553, signed by President Obama in September 2010, targeting human rights abuses engaged in by officials of the Government of Iran and persons acting on behalf of the Government of Iran since the June 2009 election.  As a result of today’s action, any property in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons in which the designees have an interest is blocked, and U.S. persons are prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.  The designees, and all members of the designated entities, are also subject to visa sanctions by the Department of State. 
         State Department Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Michael Posner added, “By designating the  IRGC, the Basij and the national police, we demonstrate that law enforcement agencies not only have a  responsibility to enforce the law but also live up to universal human rights commitments and Iran’s own constitution.”
The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps
         Formed by Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini in the aftermath of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the IRGC was responsible for guarding and preserving the frontiers of the country and safeguarding the nascent revolution. In recent years, however, the IRGC has increased its involvement with internal threats to the regime, suppressing political dissent since the contested June 2009 presidential election.  
          The IRGC is responsible for the serious human rights abuses that have occurred since the contested June 12, 2009, presidential election, including the violent crackdowns on protests and    the mistreatment of political detainees held in a ward of Tehran’s Evin prison controlled by the IRGC.
          The Treasury Department previously designated the IRGC pursuant to E.O. 13382 in October 2007, which targets proliferators of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their supporters.
The Basij Resistance Force
          The Basij is a paramilitary force subordinate to the IRGC.  As one of Iran’s primary guarantors of domestic security, the Basij has been heavily involved in the violent crackdowns and serious human rights abuses occurring in Iran since the June 2009 contested presidential election.  The Basij have been implicated in attacks on university students, abuse of detainees, and violence against peaceful protesters.
         The Basij is also being designated today for being controlled by the IRGC.  The United States designated Basij Commander Mohammed Reza Naqdi pursuant to E.O. 13553 in February 2011.
The Law Enforcement Forces (LEF)
         Commonly referred to as Iran’s national police, the LEF is one of the Government of Iran’s main security apparatuses for maintaining domestic stability and played a key role in the government crackdown on protesters in the aftermath of the June 2009 election. Under the command of Ismail Ahmadi Moghadam, also designated today, the LEF was involved in the attack on the Tehran University dormitories in Tehran during which more than 100 people were wounded and subsequently transferred to a detention area where they suffered physical abuse at the hands of the LEF.
         The LEF operated the notorious Kahrizak detention center, which was the site of serious human rights abuses against prisoners detained in the post-election protests, including assault and battery, and the deprivation of basic needs such as medical care, ultimately resulting in the deaths of three detainees.