Secretary of State Hillary Clinton yesterday announced the imposition of sanctions against eight Iranian officials who were responsible for severe violations of Iranian human rights during the June 2009 government crackdown. The officials included the Commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Iran’s Prosecutor General, the Minister of Intelligence, and other key members of Iran’s police and internal security forces.
The sanctions were imposed by an executive order signed yesterday by President Obama that freezes any assets owned by the Iranian officials in the United States, bans their travel to the United States, and prohibits U.S. citizens from engaging in any transactions with them. The Iranians targeted for sanctions are:
- Mohammad Ali Jafari, Commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC);
- Sadeq Mahsouli, current Minister of Welfare and Security and former Minister of the Interior;
- Qolam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejei, current Prosecutor General of Iran and former Minister of Intelligence;
- Saeed Mortazavi, former Prosecutor-General of Tehran;
- Heydar Moslehi, Minister of Intelligence;
- Mostafa Mohammad Najjar, current Minister of the Interior and former Deputy Commander of the Armed Forces for Law Enforcement;
- Ahmad-Reza Radan, Deputy Chief of Iran’s National Police; and
- Hossein Taeb, current Deputy IRGC Commander for Intelligence and former Commander of the IRGC’s Basij Forces.
The Obama Administration was slow to criticize Iran’s dictatorship for its human rights abuses during last year’s violent repression of the opposition Green Movement, which inconveniently occurred during the Administration’s early efforts to diplomatically engage the regime. The Administration is now belatedly taking action to penalize the regime for its abhorrent policies.
These new sanctions are a good step forward, but why stop at eight culpable officials? There are thousands of Iranian officials that have violated the human rights of Iranian citizens going back to the 1979 revolution. They should not receive a free pass for their crimes.