Iran: New US Sanctions are ‘Fruitless’
Iran dismissed on Thursday new US sanctions on several Iranian officials, saying they were a sign of the complete inefficiency of Washington's previous sanctions on the country.
"Washington's fruitless and repetitive sanctions against Iranian officials is a sign of weakness, despair and confusion of the US administration," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said.
The United States on Wednesday imposed sanctions on several Iranian authorities, including the interior minister, accusing them of engaging in serious cases of human rights abuse.
The US Treasury Department said Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani-Fazli gave orders authorizing the Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) of Iran to use lethal force in response to anti-government protests in November, leading to the killing of protesters, including at least 23 minors.
"The Iranian regime violently suppresses dissent of the Iranian people, including peaceful protests, through physical and psychological abuse," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.
"The United States will continue to hold accountable Iranian officials and institutions that oppress and abuse their own people."
Hundreds of young and working-class Iranians took to the streets on Nov. 15 to protest the government's decision to increase fuel prices. The protests turned political, with demonstrators burning pictures of senior officials and calling on clerical rulers to step down.
Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei denounced the unrest as a “very dangerous conspiracy” by Iran’s enemies.
An opposition website said in January that at least 631 people were killed during the unrest and Amnesty International said more than 300 people had been killed.