US State Department blacklists two Iranian officials over human rights violations

US State Department blacklists two Iranian officials over human rights violations
Anthony Blinken has announced that two Iranian officials have been sanctioned for committing human rights violations.
2 min read
10 March, 2021
The two men and their families are banned from entering the US. [Getty]

The US has sanctioned two Iranian government interrogators it accuses of torturing political prisoners and activists and committing other human rights violations, according to reports by Reuters.

Tuesday’s blacklisting of Ali Hemmatian and Masoud Safdari is believed to be the first such action against Tehran by the Biden administration. 

In a statement, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken accused the men of "involvement in gross violations of human rights, namely the torture and/or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment of political prisoners and persons detained during protests in 2019 and 2020 in Iran".

"These individuals and their immediate family members are ineligible for entry into the United States," he added. 

The Biden administration is currently attempting to restart the nuclear deal with Iran, which the former president left unilaterally in 2018. 

As a condition for a return to, or renegotiation of, the nuclear deal, Iran is insisting that the US lift all sanctions imposed on the country. 

"Iran is ready to immediately take compensatory measures based on the nuclear deal and fulfil its commitments just after the US illegal sanctions are lifted and it abandons its policy of threats and pressure," AP reported Iranian President Hassan Rouhani saying on Sunday.

The US has insisted that it will not lift sanctions until Iran falls back into compliance with the original deal. 

"Iran's moving in the wrong direction. It continues to take steps that lift the various constraints of the agreement and is making its programme more dangerous, not less dangerous," said Blinken, in an interview with PBS Newshour

Read more: Iran, Israel and Turkey: How regional actors filled the Arab Spring's power vacuum

While continuing to seek a return to a deal, the US is remaining resolute in its determination to hold human rights violators in Iran accountable. 

"We will continue to consider all appropriate tools to impose costs on those responsible for human rights violations and abuses in Iran. We will also work with our allies to promote accountability for such violations and abuses," the statement continued. 

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