Sun. Mar 3rd, 2024

The State Department has blacklisted two Iranian government officials and barred them and their immediate family members from entering the United States.

The action, according to a report on Tuesday March 9, 2021, was the first against Tehran under the Joe Biden administration.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement the US turned to the Human Rights Council in Geneva to outline its “concerns about the abuses the Iranian government continues to perpetrate against its citizens.”

He announced the designation of Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) interrogators Ali Hemmatian and Masoud Safdari for their involvement in gross violations of human rights, namely the torture and/or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (CIDTP) of political prisoners and persons detained during protests in 2019 and 2020 in Iran.

The statement said these individuals and their immediate family members are ineligible for entry into the US.

“We will continue to consider all appropriate tools to impose costs on those responsible for human rights violations and abuses in Iran,” the Secretary of State said, adding that Washington will also work with its allies to promote accountability for such violations and abuses.

“The United States will continue to support the rights of people in Iran and demand the Iranian government treat its people with respect and dignity,” Blinken noted.

The Biden administration decided to take the action despite its efforts to coax Iran into negotiations over the 2015 Iran nuclear deal that former President Donald Trump withdrew from in 2018, dramatically increasing tensions with Tehran.

The sanctions came amid a rare move by 140 lawmakers urging the Biden administration on Tuesday to seek a “comprehensive” deal with Iran that addresses not just its nuclear program, but a range of other national security issues.

A letter sent to Blinken Tuesday and signed by 70 Republican and 70 Democratic House members, called for an agreement or set of agreements that reinstate limits on Iran’s nuclear program, curtail its ballistic missile program, and address its “malign behavior” throughout the Middle East.

“We’re encouraging the administration to look at how do you bring Democrats and Republicans together around an issue that should unify us, and that is addressing the risk presented by Iran,” said Representative Anthony Brown, who helped organize Democratic signatures.

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