US Treasury Dept sanctioned Iranian top officials on November 4, 2019
On 4th November, the government of the United States announced that it was issuing fresh sanctions against a number of high-level officials in Iran. The US Department of the Treasury announced the news on the 40th anniversary of the Iran hostage crisis in which the US Embassy in Tehran was stormed in 1979. The standoff lasted 444 days and 52 American citizens and diplomats were held hostage during this time.
The US Treasury Department announced that the sanctions would affect Iran’s Armed Forces General Staff and nine individuals that are linked to the country’s Supreme Leader – Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. It said that the sanctions are part of an effort to “block funds from flowing to a shadow network of Ali Khamenei’s military and foreign affairs advisors who have for decades oppressed the Iranian people, exported terrorism, and advanced destabilizing policies around the world”.
One of the concerned individuals is former presidential candidate Ebrahim Raisi who currently serves the regime as head of the judiciary.
It has also been rumored that a number of American senators are calling for further sanctions against the regime.
These latest sanctions are highly significant because of who is targeted. Raisi was part of a so-called “death commission” during the 1988 massacre – one of the most horrific crimes against humanity in recent times in which more than 30,000 political prisoners, mainly members and supporters of Mujahedin-e Khalq (PMOI/Iran), lost their life. He personally decided the fate of numerous political prisoners who were extrajudicially murdered following a fatwa that was issued by the Supreme Leader at the time.
For the first time ever, the 1988 massacre has become the direct subject of sanctions imposed on Iran. This is a major boost to the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and the entire Iranian Resistance movement that has been calling for justice for the victims of this terrible crime against humanity. Years of appeasement have allowed the regime to enjoy impunity for this entire time.
The US Treasury Department also emphasized the regime’s warmongering and acts of terror across the region and beyond. Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said: “Today the Treasury Department is targeting the unelected officials who surround Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei and implement his destabilizing policies. These individuals are linked to a wide range of malign behaviors by the regime, including bombings of the U.S. Marine Barracks in Beirut in 1983 and the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association in 1994, as well as torture, extrajudicial killings, and repression of civilians. This action further constricts the Supreme Leader’s ability to execute his agenda of terror and oppression.”
The US authorities also pointed to Iran’s meddling in Iraq, saying that the regime’s destructive policies are highly concerning.
For years, many countries have led policies of appeasement towards Iran. This has done nothing more than embolden the regime and the United States’ move to hold the regime accountable for its actions is long overdue.
For many of the more worrying aspects of the regime’s behavior to be addressed directly through sanctions is positive and one can only hope that other countries follow suit.