New York Times: Opening a new front in its pressure campaign against Tehran, the Obama administration on Wednesday put eight Iranian officials on a blacklist for their role in the bloody suppression of anti-government demonstrators after the disputed Iranian election last year.
The New York Times
By MARK LANDLER
WASHINGTON — Opening a new front in its pressure campaign against Tehran, the Obama administration on Wednesday put eight Iranian officials on a blacklist for their role in the bloody suppression of anti-government demonstrators after the disputed Iranian election last year.
Under an executive order signed by President Obama, the United States will freeze foreign assets and deny visas to the eight officials, who include the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the minister of welfare and social security.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who announced the sanctions with Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, accused the men of ordering the arbitrary arrest, beating, torture, rape, blackmail, and killing of Iranian citizens in the violent crackdown after the June 2009 election.
“This is the first time that the United States has imposed sanctions on Iran based on human rights abuses,” Mrs. Clinton said. “We would like to be able to tell you that it might be the last, but we fear not.”
The administration’s action comes in the wake of tougher United Nations and American sanctions imposed against Iran because of its nuclear program. Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Geithner said that those measures were starting to show results: Iran has begun negotiating with the United States and other major powers about returning to the table to discuss its nuclear ambitions.
Wednesday’s measures were more symbolic than substantive. The most significant figure on the list — Mohammad Ali Jafari, the commander of the revolutionary guard corps — has already been put on the blacklist by the United States because of his involvement in the nuclear program.
The sanctions reflect how far the Obama administration has come in its response to the upheaval in Iran. When angry crowds first took to the streets of Tehran to protest the disputed elections in June 2009, Mr. Obama was reluctant to voice his concern, fearful that the Iranian regime would seize on his words to paint the opposition as tools of the United States.
Since the Iranian government’s brutal crackdown, and what Mrs. Clinton described as a mounting cycle of repression — the banning of political parties, the closing of newspapers, the jailing of human-rights activists — the United States has been increasingly vocal about rights abuses. Now it has named the officials it believes are the chief culprits.
“We’ve always said that we not only cared about the nuclear program in Iran, we cared about the people of Iran, and we cared about their conditions in their country,” Mrs. Clinton said on Wednesday.