WASHINGTON – The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has taken action against five Iranian officials of the Guardian Council and its Elections Supervision Committee for preventing free and fair elections.
OFAC said the officials were responsible for the disqualification of several thousand candidates by the Guardian Council. According to the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), more than half of those who applied to run for parliament were barred by the unelected religious and legal authorities within the Guardian Council.
“Treasury’s action targets Ahmad Jannati, the secretary of the Guardian Council, and Mohammad Yazdi, a member of Iran’s Guardian Council who was formerly Iran’s first Judiciary Chief, and three additional members of its Elections Supervisory Committee,” OFAC said in a statement. “The Supreme Leader uses his appointees to deprive the Iranian people of free and fair elections by blocking candidates that do not mirror his radical views.”
“All property and interests in property of these persons that are in the United States or in the possession or control of US persons must be blocked and reported to OFAC,” OFAC said. “Furthermore, any foreign financial institution that knowingly conducts or facilitates a significant transaction for or on behalf of the persons designated today could be subject to US correspondent or payable-through account sanctions.”
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin added that the Trump administration “will not tolerate the manipulation of elections to favor the regime’s malign agenda, and this action exposes those senior regime officials responsible for preventing the Iranian people from freely choosing their leaders.”
Behnam Ben Taleblu, senior fellow at FDD, said: “These new designations signal Washington’s cognizance of Iran’s manipulation of an electoral process that is popularly acknowledged to be neither free nor fair.”