The US hits Iran with new sanctions amid waning protests

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The United States and its allies imposed more sanctions on Iran on Monday, the latest attempt to put pressure on Tehran’s Islamist rulers from the outside as they face ongoing domestic unrest.

The US Treasury Department announced that the sanctions would target a foundation linked to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, five of its board members, four senior IRGC commanders and Iran’s Deputy Minister of Intelligence and Security. The action was coordinated with Britain and the European Union, the Treasury Department said in a press release.

The moves suggest that the United States and its allies believe the Iranian government remains extremely vulnerable as a result of an internal protest movement that began in mid-September. This is the ninth round of US sanctions over Iran’s crackdown on protesters.

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That said, Iran’s clerical leadership has managed to survive through decades of Western sanctions. And the protest movement seems to be waning now that the Iranian government is cracking down, including with public executions.

US officials said Iran’s human rights violations warranted a harsh response from the international community.

“Together with our partners, we will continue to hold the Iranian regime accountable as long as it relies on violence, mock trials, the execution of demonstrators and other means to suppress its people,” said Brian, undersecretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. E. Nelson said in a press release.

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The people sanctioned include: Naser Rashedi, the deputy minister; Hossein Tanavar, the IRGC commander in the city of Qom; Mohammad Nazar Azimi, the IRGC commander of the Western Region Headquarters in Kermanshah; Kourosh Asiabani, the IRGC’s deputy commander of the Western Region; and Mojtaba Fada, the IRGC commander in Isfahan province.

The US sanctions are imposed in legal categories related to human rights. According to the State Department, the IRGC Cooperative Foundation has also previously been designated as an anti-proliferation and counter-terrorism authority.

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Demonstrations erupted across Iran last September following the death of Mahsa Amini, a young woman who was taken into custody and reportedly beaten over claims she failed to properly adhere to Iran’s Islamic dress code, which requires women to keep their hair cover.

The Iranian government has sentenced some protesters to death and carried out a handful of public executions, including hanging the defendants’ bodies from cranes.

The executions may have had a chilling effect as street gatherings appear to have declined significantly, according to analysts and media reports. However, protests continue in some corners, including Zahedan, the capital of Iran’s Sistan-Baluchistan province.

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