US President Donald Trump extended waivers on Iran’s nuclear deal on Friday. File photo: Evan Vucci/AP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The United States has sanctioned Iran’s top judge and thirteen other individuals and entities largely accused of human rights abuses and censorship in Iran, the same day that the president extended waivers of nuclear sanctions against Tehran.
“The United States will not stand by while the Iranian regime continues to engage in human rights abuses and injustice,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Friday.
“We are targeting the Iranian regime, including the head of Iran’s judiciary, for its appalling mistreatment of its citizens, including those imprisoned solely for exercising their right to freedom of peaceful assembly, and for censoring its own people as they stand up in protest against their government,” he explained.
In sanctioning the head of Iran’s judiciary, Sadegh Amoli Larijani, the US Treasury stated he has overseen executions of juveniles and the use of torture and inhumane treatment of prisoners.
Also subject to new sanctions is Gholamreza Ziaei for acting on behalf of Rajaee Shahr Prison where human rights are reported to have occurred, the Treasury stated.
The Treasury also imposed sanctions on several Iranian cyber and communication agencies on charges of censorship, limiting and penalizing freedom of expression, and limiting the media, including access to Western media.
The US also targeted China-Iran ties, slapping sanctions on a Chinese national, Shi Yuhua, and a China-Iran procurement network for providing goods or services related to Iran’s missile program.
Iranian media outlet IRNA has slammed the new sanctions as “unfair and hostile.”
The Treasury’s announcement came as President Donald Trump extended nuclear sanction waivers, meaning the 2015 nuclear deal remains in place for now.
“Despite my strong inclination, I have not yet withdrawn the United States from the Iran nuclear deal,” Trump stated.
But he issued an ultimatum to European partners of the deal: "either fix the deal’s disastrous flaws, or the United States will withdraw.”
European leaders have repeatedly stated their commitment to the agreement.
Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif hit back on Twitter, accusing Trump of "maliciously" trying to undermine the agreement.
The deal "is not renegotiable," he stated, "rather than repeating tired rhetoric, US must bring itself into full compliance - just like Iran."
Trump was a vocal supporter of recent anti-government protests in Iran, warning Tehran that he was watching for human rights abuses.
Iranian officials acknowledged protesters had legitimate economic concerns, but alleged foreign agents were behind the unrest.
As part of a crackdown on the demonstrations, Iranian authorities cut or limited access to internet and social media apps.
Reports indicate as many as five protesters have died in prison.