U.S. imposes new Iran sanctions over human rights violations


© Reuters. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo holds a news conference in Washington

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States on Thursday blacklisted several Iranian officials and entities over alleged gross violations of human rights, including slapping sanctions on a judge it said was involved in the case of an Iranian wrestler sentenced to death.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a statement said the United States imposed sanctions on Judge Seyyed Mahmoud Sadati, Judge Mohammad Soltani, Branch 1 of the Revolutionary Court of Shiraz, and Adel Abad, Orumiyeh, and Vakilabad Prisons.

U.S. Special Representative for Iran and Venezuela Elliott Abrams said the sanctions targeted a judge who sentenced Iranian wrestler Navid Afkari to death. Pompeo said Sadati, a judge of Branch 1 of the Shiraz Revolutionary Court, reportedly oversaw one of Afkari’s trials.

“The U.S. is committed to holding accountable those who deny freedom and justice to people of Iran and later today the United States will announce sanctions on several Iranian officials and entities including the judge who sentenced Navid Afkari to death,” Abrams said during a hearing at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The wrestler was executed earlier this month after being convicted for the fatal stabbing of a security guard during anti-government protests in 2018, Iranian state media reported.

Also blacklisted was Adel Abad prison, where Pompeo said the wrestler reported being tortured by Iranian officials, and Vakilabad prison, where U.S. citizen Michael White was detained.

Pompeo also called out Iran for what he said was the wrongful detainment of three Americans, Baquer and Siamak Namazi and Morad Tahbaz, adding the United States will make every effort to bring them home.

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Earlier this week, Washington imposed new sanctions on Iran’s defense ministry and others involved in its nuclear and weapons program to support the U.S. assertion that all U.N. sanctions against Tehran are now restored.

Tensions between Washington and Tehran have spiked since U.S. President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew in 2018 from the Iran nuclear deal struck by his predecessor and began reimposing sanctions that had been eased under the accord.

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