The United States of America and the United Kingdom imposed certain sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran ahead of the one-year anniversary of the death of Mahsa Amini. This incident sparked months of anti-government processes that often faced a violent crackdown.
The 22-year-old Mahsa Amini was a Kurdish woman and she died on September 16, 2022, in the custody of the Iranian Moral Police, Gasht-e-Ershad for allegedly flouting the mandatory dress code of the Islamic Republic. Her death ignited the fire of anti-government protests.
The outrage over Amini’s death led to weeks of groundbreaking protests, during which women openly defied the mandatory headscarves, challenging the Islamic Republic’s government under Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Hundreds of protesters died in the harsh crackdown that followed. Women across the world came out in support of Iranian women, cutting their braids off as a mark of defiance in reverberated moment for women’s rights.
The US, Britain and the European Union (EU) have placed strong sanctions on the theocracy of Iran citing the widespread and violent crackdown on protests after the death of Amini.
Statement By Antony Blinken
In a statement, the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken said “Mahsa’s tragic and senseless death in the custody of the so-called morality police sparked demonstrations all across Iran that were met with unspeakable violence, mass arrests, systemic internet shutdown and censorship by the Iranian Regime.
“We will continue to take appropriate action, alongside our international partners to hold all those accountable to those who suppress Iranians’ exercise of human rights.
Statement of the US Treasury Department
The US Treasury Department in a separate statement said that it imposed sanctions on more than two dozen people and the entities said that were in connection to Iran’s violent suppression of protests in the wake of Amini’s death, the crackdown on dissenting voices and restrictions to internet.
“The United States will continue to take collective action against those who suppress Iran’s exercise of their human rights the Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Brian Nelson said,” in the statement.
The Sanctioned Entities
The action targets 20 people and groups, including 18 key members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Iran’s Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) as well as the head of the Iranian Prisons Organisation (IPO), the department said. They also targeted officials linked to Iran’s internet blockade and several media outlets.
The sanctions also target LEF spokesperson Saeed Montazeromehdi, multiple LEF and IRGC Commanders and Iran Prisons Organisation (IPO) chief Gholami Mohammadi. The Douran Software Technologies CEO Alireza Abedinejad as well as the state-controlled media organisations Press TV, Tasmin News Agency and Fars News were among those sanctioned.
The United Kingdom (UK) separately announced its sanctions targeting senior Iranian Decision-makers enforcing the Taliban’s mandatory Hijab laws, including Iran’s minister for culture and Islamic guidance, his deputy, the mayor of Tehran and an Iranian police spokesman.
Impact on the Amini Family
Amjad Amini, Mahsa’s father announced plans to hold a commemoration for his daughter in their home town of Saqez in western Iran. However, he was summoned by intelligence officials following the announcement. One of Amini’s uncles, Safa Aeli was detained in Saqez. Additional security forces were reportedly deployed to Saqez and other western Iranian towns that could potentially become flashpoints.
Despite some women still appearing in public without headscarves, particularly in affluent and traditionally liberal areas of northern Tehran, the conservative-dominated parliament is considering a draft law that would impose harsher penalties for non-compliance.
Crackdown on Journalists
Even Journalists have not been spared. Two key journalists named Niloufar Hamedi and Elahe Mohammadi, who played a significant role in highlighting Amini’s case to the outside world have been detained and imprisoned for a year. Another reporter, Nazila Maroufian, who interviewed Amini’s father, Amjad, has faced repeated arrests.