The US has charged three Iranian security officials with complicity in human rights abuses in largely Kurdish regions.

The United States has announced sanctions against three Iranian security officials amid government efforts to lift the sanctions protesters in largely Kurdish regions of the country.

In a press release on Wednesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken accused the three officials — Hassan Asgari, Alireza Moradi and Mohammad Taghi Osanloo — of complicity in human rights violations.

“The United States is deeply concerned by reports that Iranian authorities are increasing violence against peaceful demonstrators,” Blinken said. “The human rights violations committed by the Iranian government against its people must not be without consequences.”

The sanctions are coming protests continue to agitate Iran, sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, an Iranian woman of Kurdish descent who died after being detained by the country’s vice squad in September.

Human rights activists in Iran, a group tracking the protests, have said at least 426 people were killed and more than 17,400 arrested as the Iranian government tried to crack down on the protests. protests.

The US Treasury Department said in a pronunciation that the government’s response has been “particularly severe” in areas with large Kurdish populations, such as Sanandaj and Mahabad in northwestern Iran.

One of those punished today, Asgari, is the governor of Sanandaj. The U.S. Treasury Department alleged that he and other officials attempted to cover up the death of a 16-year-old protester allegedly killed by security forces, spreading rumors that she instead died by suicide and drug overdose.

Another sanctioned official, Moradi, is the commander of the Sanandaj’s Iranian Law Enforcement Force (LEF). According to US Secretary of State Blinken, he reportedly ordered the “mass arrest of demonstrators”.

The third person named in Wednesday’s sanctions, Osanloo, is the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) ground forces in Iran’s West Azerbaijan province. He oversees a region that includes the Kurdish city of Mahabad.

Iran has pushed back against scrutiny of its human rights record, accusing Western governments of hypocrisy and declaring at a UN meeting that the government has shown “deep restraint” during the protests.

The sanctions freeze all US-based assets owned by the individuals and generally prohibit people in the US from engaging in business transactions with them.

The US has struck before sanctions on members of the Iranian intelligence community, IRGC leaders, prison guards, members of the Iranian state media and others.

“The Iranian regime is reportedly targeting and shooting its own children, who have taken to the streets to demand a better future,” Brian Nelson, the Treasury’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in a statement. . “The abuses perpetrated in Iran against demonstrators, including most recently in Mahabad, must stop.”

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