In brief: Biden targets torturers in first sanctions imposed on Iran

Photo: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

The Biden administration targeted two Revolutionary Guard interrogators as it imposed its first set of sanctions on Iran this week. The secretary of state, Anthony Blinken, announced that two men – Ali Hemmatian and Masoud Safdari – would be banned from entering the United States. The State Department cited their “involvement in gross violations of human rights, namely the torture and/or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment of political prisoners”, including those detained in the 2019-20 protests. “We will continue to consider all appropriate tools to impose costs on those responsible for human rights violations and abuses in Iran,” Blinken said. “We will also work with our allies to promote accountability for such violations and abuses.” Late last month Biden ordered airstrikes in eastern Syria against Iranian-backed militia responsible for recent attacks against American and allied personnel in Iraq. The Islamic republic has so far adopted a belligerent attitude towards the new administration, despite Biden’s offer to revive the 2015 nuclear deal if Tehran returns too full compliance with it. This week the International Atomic Energy Agency reportedly informed member states of further breaches of the agreement by Iran, which has started enriching uranium with a third cascade, or cluster, of advanced centrifuges at its underground plant at Natanz. A bipartisan group of 140 members of Congress urged Biden this week to ensure any future deal with Iran addresses “the full range of threats that Iran poses to the region”.

Read full article