Treasury Sanctions Senior Iranian Officials Overseeing Violent Protest Suppression and Censorship
April 24, 2023 / Source: Treasury
WASHINGTON — Today, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned four senior officials of the Law Enforcement Forces of Iran (LEF) and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the primary Iranian security forces responsible for the regime’s brutal suppression of the protests that broke out in September 2022 following the arrest and death of Mahsa Jina Amini while in the custody of Iran’s Morality Police. OFAC is 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. Today’s action is being taken in coordination with the United Kingdom, which is also imposing similar sanctions on senior Iranian security officials.
“The Iranian people deserve freedom of expression without the threat of violent retaliation and censorship from those in power,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson. “Along with our key allies and partners, such as the United Kingdom, the United States will continue to take action against those responsible for the regime’s violent repression and censorship.”
OFAC has imposed 11 rounds of sanctions actions targeting the Iranian regime and its security elements and officials that are involved in brutal crackdown on peaceful demonstrations since nationwide protests began in September 2022. Today’s designations are pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13553, which authorizes the imposition of sanctions on certain persons with respect to serious human rights abuses by the Government of Iran, and E.O. 13846, which authorizes sanctions on persons who engage in censorship or other activities with respect to Iran.
OFAC designated the IRGC and the LEF pursuant to E.O. 13553 on June 9, 2011, for being responsible for or complicit in serious human rights abuses in Iran since the June 2009 disputed presidential election. The IRGC is also designated pursuant to E.O. 13382 and E.O. 13224. OFAC designated Iran’s SCC on January 12, 2018, for engaging in censorship and inhibiting free expression in Iran, pursuant to E.O. 13628, which was later revoked and superseded by E.O. 13846.
The Department of State is also taking action today to impose visa restrictions pursuant to Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), section 212(a)(3)(C), on 11 additional Iranian government officials who are believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, the abuse, detention, or killing of peaceful protestors or inhibiting their rights to freedom of expression or peaceful assembly.
ISLAMIC REVOLUTIONARY GUARD CORPS LEADERS
Parviz Absalan (Absalan) is the Deputy Commander of the IRGC Salman Corps of Sistan and Baluchistan Province. The Salman Corps were involved in the violent suppression of protests in Sistan and Baluchistan, which resulted in some of the highest casualties nationwide following the outbreak of protests in September 2022.
Amanollah Goshtasbi (Goshtasbi) is the Deputy Inspector of the IRGC’s Ground Forces. He was previously the Commander of the IRGC’s Salman Corps, during which forces under his command are alleged to have opened fire on Baluch citizens on multiple occasions, leading to several deaths.
Ahmed Khadem Seyedoshohada (Seyedoshohada) is a Brigadier General in the IRGC’s Ground Forces and has been Commander of the IRGC’s Karbala Operational Base since at least 2020. During the protests in 2022, IRGC troops under his command allegedly used live ammunition against protesters in the towns of Khorramabad, Lorestan province and Izeh, Khuzestan province.
Absalan, Goshtasbi, and Seyedoshohada are being designated pursuant to E.O. 13553 for having acted, or purported to act, for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the IRGC, an entity designated pursuant to E.O. 13553.
LAW ENFORCEMENT FORCES LEADER
Salman Adinehvand (Adinehvand) is the current Commander of the Tehran Police Relief Unit of Iran’s LEF, the primary security organization in charge of crowd control and protest suppression. Adinehvand’s unit was directly responsible for the violent suppression of protests in Tehran in September and October 2022, during which dozens of protestors were killed by security forces using live ammunition.
Adinehvand is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13553 for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the LEF, an entity designated pursuant to E.O. 13553.
SUPREME COUNCIL ON CYBERSPACE LEADER
Seyyed Mohammad Amin Aghamiri (Aghamiri) is the new Secretary of Iran’s 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.
Aghamiri is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13846 for having acted, or purported to act, for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the SCC, an entity designated pursuant to E.O. 13628, which was revoked and superseded by E.O. 13846.
As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of these persons that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons must be blocked and reported to OFAC. In addition, any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked. All transactions by U.S. persons or within the United States (including transactions transiting the United States) that involve any property or interests in property of blocked or designated persons are prohibited.
In addition, persons that engage in certain transactions with the persons designated today may themselves be exposed to sanctions or subject to an enforcement action. Furthermore, unless an exception applies, any foreign financial institution that knowingly facilitates a significant transaction or provides significant financial services for any of the persons designated today could be subject to U.S. sanctions.
The power and integrity of OFAC sanctions derive not only from OFAC’s ability to designate and add persons to the SDN List, but also from its willingness to remove persons from the SDN List consistent with the law. The ultimate goal of sanctions is not to punish, but to bring about a positive change in behavior. For information concerning the process for seeking removal from an OFAC list, including the SDN List, please refer to OFAC’s Frequently Asked Question 897 here. For detailed information on the process to submit a request for removal from an OFAC sanctions list, please click here.
Click here for identifying information on the individuals designated today.