The US Treasury decided on Friday to impose new sanctions against a number of Iranian entities and individuals for human rights abuses in Iran and supporting Iranian weapons programs.
Those targeted include the head of Iran’s judiciary, Sadeq Larijani.
The US Treasury Department said in a statement that Larijani, a close ally of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, is “responsible for ordering, controlling, or otherwise directing, the commission of serious human rights abuses against persons in Iran or Iranian citizens or residents.”
"The United States will not stand by while the Iranian regime continues to engage in human rights abuses and injustice. We are targeting the Iranian regime, including the head of Iran's judiciary, for its appalling mistreatment of its citizens, including those imprisoned solely for exercising their right to freedom of peaceful assembly, and for censoring its own people as they stand up in protest against their government," said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin.
"We are also targeting Iran's ballistic missile program and destabilizing activities, which it continues to prioritize over the economic well-being of the Iranian people."
Larijani is described by the Treasury as being “responsible for or complicit in, or responsible for ordering, controlling, or otherwise directing, the commission of serious human rights abuses against persons in Iran or Iranian citizens or residents. As head of Iran's Judiciary, he has administrative oversight over the carrying out of sentences in contravention of Iran's international obligations, including the execution of individuals who were juveniles at the time of their crime and the torture or cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment or punishment of prisoners in Iran, including amputations.”
Sanctions also targeted Rajaee Shahr Prison and Gholamreza Ziaei in connection with serious human rights abuses in Iran.
Rajaee Shahr Prison has denied prisoners adequate medical care and access to legal representation. Many Iranians who recently protested against their government are imprisoned at Rajaee Shahr, a facility where prisoners participating in hunger strikes are denied medical care; where there are reported incidents of sexual abuse and unlawful executions. Ziaei has served as the director of Rajaee Shahr Prison since October 2017.
The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Electronic Warfare and Cyber Defense Organization and the Supreme Council of Cyberspace and the National Cyberspace Center were also included in Friday’s sanctions for their restrictions on freedom of expression.
As the country's top Internet policymaking body, the Supreme Council of Cyberspace oversees the Iranian regime's disruption of the free flow of information by restricting access to tens of thousands of websites, particularly those of international news sources, anti-regime outlets, ethnic and religious minorities, human rights groups and popular social media sites, said the US Treasury.
The Treasury also sanctioned Green Wave Telecommunication, Morteza Razavi, Iran Helicopter Support and Renewal Company and Iran Aircraft Industries.
A Chinese national was sanctioned for acting on behalf of Wuhan Sanjiang Import and Export Co LTD, which is already under sanctions for doing business with an Iranian firm “owned or controlled” by the military.
Other sanctioned entities included another China-based company, Bochuang Ceramic Corp, and the Iranian firm it sought to supply with a chemical compound used in the transmission of electrical signals.
Also on Friday, US President Donald Trump upheld US participation in the Iran nuclear deal by granting Tehran relief from US sanctions but aides said it would be the last time he would do so.
A senior administration official said Trump wants the 2015 Iran deal strengthened with a follow-on agreement in 120 days or the United States will unilaterally withdraw from the international pact.
Trump has argued behind the scenes that the nuclear deal makes the United States look weak, a senior US official said.
A decision to withhold a waiver would have effectively ended the deal that limits Iran’s nuclear program. The 2015 agreement between the United States and Iran also was signed by China, France, Russia, Britain, Germany and the European Union, and these countries would have been unlikely to join the United States in re-imposing sanctions.