The US Treasury Department on Monday imposed sanctions on four senior Iranian law enforcement and military officials involved in crushing protests that erupted last year after an Iranian woman died in the custody of the morality police who enforce strict dress codes.
The department said in a statement it was also taking action against the new secretary of Iran's Supreme Council of Cyberspace (SCC), the authority responsible for Iran's cyberspace policy and blockage of popular websites.
"The Iranian people deserve freedom of expression without the threat of violent retaliation and censorship from those in power," Brian Nelson, the department's under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in the statement.
The Treasury said it was placing sanctions on three senior officials of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC): Parviz Absalan, the deputy commander of the IRGC Salman Corps of Sistan and Baluchistan Province; Amanollah Goshtasbi, deputy inspector of the IRGC's ground forces; and Ahmed Khadem Seyedoshohada, a brigadier general in the IRGC's ground forces.
It also imposed sanctions on Salman Adinehvand, the commander of the Tehran Police Relief Unit of Iran's LEF, the primary security organization in charge of crowd control and protest suppression.
Also targeted was Seyyed Mohammad Amin Aghamiri, the new secretary of the SCC, the centralized authority regarding policymaking in the realm of cyberspace. The SCC is responsible for Iran's blockage of popular online news and communications platforms and has also used digital technology to spy on and harass journalists and regime dissidents, the Treasury said.
Sanctions by the European Union
The European Union also imposed sanctions on Monday on eight Iranians and a mobile telecommunications provider in its latest effort to target individuals and organizations it holds responsible for human rights abuses in Iran.
The Council of the EU, which brings together the bloc's member countries, said it was sanctioning Ariantel, a company that "contributed to the telecommunications surveillance architecture mapped out by the Iranian government to quash dissent and critical voices in Iran."
Other additions to the EU's sanctions list include lawmakers in the Iranian Parliament, members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the IRCG Cooperative Foundation - the body responsible for managing the IRGC’s investments.
The latest measures mean 211 individuals and 35 entities are now under EU sanctions, the EU Council said in a statement.
This means a freeze on any assets they hold inside the EU and a ban on travel to the bloc. EU companies are also banned from making funds available to those under sanctions.
"The European Union and its member states urge the Iranian authorities to stop any form of violent crackdown against peaceful protests, cease their resort to arbitrary detentions as a means of silencing critical voices, and release all those unjustly detained," the statement said.
"The EU calls on Iran to end the practice of imposing and carrying out death sentences against protesters, reverse the death penalty sentences pronounced, as well as provide due process to all detainees," the statement added.
"The EU also calls upon Iran to end the distressing practice of detaining foreign civilians with a view to making political gains."
Other sanctions against Iran
The British government said those sanctioned included four regional commanders of the IRGC.
"The UK and our international partners are again making clear today that we will not overlook the regime’s brutal oppression. We will continue to take a range of action to hold the regime to account for its actions," Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said in a statement.