In response to charges of mistreatment of Iranian women, the United States on Thursday imposed sanctions on Iran’s morality police, claiming that the unit was to blame for the death of a 22-year-old detainee that had provoked demonstrations across Iran.
The morality police were also accused of abusing the rights of nonviolent protestors by the U.S. Treasury Department, which also stated sanctions had been placed on seven senior Iranian military and security officials, including the commander of the Iranian army’s ground troops.
After several days of demonstrations in Tehran and other cities over the death of Mahsa Amini, the public indignation in Iran showed no signs of abating, with reports of security forces being attacked and demonstrators torching police stations and vehicles earlier on Thursday.
Amini, a Kurdish woman, was detained by Tehran’s morality police after being accused of wearing “unsuitable clothes” and went into a coma. The cause of her death will be looked into, according to the authorities.
Mahsa Amini was a brave woman whose murder while being held by the Morality Police was yet another act of brutality by the Iranian regime’s security forces against its own people, according to a statement from Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken added in a separate statement that “the Iranian government has to stop its systemic persecution of women and permit peaceful protest.”
Requests for comments on the sanctions from the Iranian Mission to the UN went unanswered right away.
A senior State Department official, speaking to reporters on the condition of anonymity, said there would be more steps in the coming days but did not provide any details.