WASHINGTON, Sep 29, 2010 (IPS) – Amid new calls for Washington to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities if its diplomatic efforts at curbing Tehran’s uranium-enrichment programme fail, the United States Wednesday imposed unilateral sanctions against eight senior Iranian officials whom it accused of committing “sustained and severe violations of human rights”.
Announced at a joint press appearance by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, the new sanctions include a ban on travel to the U.S. and a freeze on any U.S.-based assets owned by the officials, mainly top officers in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), including its commander, Mohammad Ali Jafari.
“On these officials’ watch or under their command, Iranian citizens have been arbitrarily beaten, tortured, raped, blackmailed and killed,” declared Clinton.
“Yet the Iranian government has ignored repeated calls from the international community to end these abuses, to hold to account those responsible, and respect the rights and fundamental freedoms of its citizens,” she added.
The sanctions are the first imposed by Washington against Iranian officials for rights-related reasons. They come amid growing speculation over the resumption of negotiations between the U.S., as well as other major powers, and Tehran over the latter’s nuclear programme, and amid increasing calls by… >>>