U.S. targets eight Iranian officials over abuses

WASHINGTON Wed Sep 29, 2010 2:44pm EDT

Iran's Revolutionary Guards commander Mohammad Ali Jafari attends Friday prayers in Tehran September 14, 2007. REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl

Iran's Revolutionary Guards commander Mohammad Ali Jafari attends Friday prayers in Tehran September 14, 2007.

Credit: Reuters/Morteza Nikoubazl

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Wednesday named eight senior Iranian officials -- including the commander of the Revolutionary Guards and several cabinet ministers -- as participants in human rights abuses including killings after disputed presidential elections in June 2009.

"On these officials' watch, or under their command, Iranian citizens have been arbitrarily arrested, beaten, tortured, raped, blackmailed and killed," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said at a news conference. "Yet the Iranian government has ignored repeated calls from the international community to end these abuses."

The United States has imposed sanctions against Iran over a number of issues, including its nuclear program, but this was the first time that actions were based against it on alleged human rights abuses.

"We would like to be able to tell you that it might be the last, but we fear not," Clinton said at a joint event with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who predicted it would have significant repercussions for those named as offenders.

An executive order signed by President Barack Obama specifies that any assets the eight Iranians have in the United States are subject to seizure and bans any transactions with them by American citizens.

"We have found that when we single out individuals and expose their conduct, banks, businesses and governments around the world respond by cutting off their economic and financial dealings with these individuals," Geithner said.

A fact sheet that Treasury distributed said the eight "share responsibility for the sustained and severe violation of human rights in Iran" since the 2009 election.

The White House said human rights "are a matter of moral and pragmatic necessity for the United States" and the United States "will always stand with those in Iran who aspire to have their voices heard."

The fact sheet listed the eight Iranians as Mohammad Ali Jafari, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp; Sadeq Mahsouli, Minister of Welfare and Security and former Minister of the Interior; Qolam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejei, Prosecutor General and former Minister of Intelligence; Saeed Mortazavi, former Prosecutor-General of Tehran; Heydar Moslehi, Minister of Intelligence; Mostafa Mohammad Najjar, Minister of the Interior and former Deputy Commander of the Armed Forces for Law Enforcement; Ahmad-Reza Radan, deputy chief of Iran's National Police; and Hossein Taeb, deputy IRGC Commander for Intelligence and former Commander of IRGC's Basij Forces.

In Jafari's case, the fact sheet said, forces he commanded "participated in beatings, murder and arbitrary arrests and detentions of peaceful protesters."

Last year's street protests, the worst unrest since the Islamic republic was founded in 1979, were put down violently by the Revolutionary Guards. Mass detentions and trials followed. Two people were hanged and scores of detainees remain in jail.

Clinton said the Obama administration was moving beyond simply criticizing the crackdown and was "beginning to call out individuals who are decision makers within that government."

(Reporting by Glenn Somerville and Andrew Quinn)

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Comments (2)
WRS10 wrote:
Presidential elections should be free from this kind of retaliatory conduct displayed by Iran during and after a vote if a country is to label them “elections”. I think these sanctions are a good way to show abuse of this scale to hinder freedom of expression won’t go unnoticed and gives these eight Iranian individuals a taste of what action against them feels like.

Sep 29, 2010 3:27pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
azmondeo wrote:
I think it’s another obvious double standard policy by the US towards those who don’t play by its rules. Human rights violations at Guantanamo bay, by its allied Israeli occupation, during Iraq and Afghanistan wars, Great Dirty Game between Russia and US which is moving against China with predictable disastrous consequences seem to be ignored by today’s world. The world that is addicted to materialism. How on earth could we ever attempt to pluck a splinter out of someone’s eye if we have a beam sticking out of ours?

Sep 29, 2010 4:25pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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