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US sanctions Iranian ministers over crackdown on protesters

The United States on Thursday slapped more sanctions on Iran in response to the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was arrested by the morality police and then died while in their custody.

The United States on Thursday slapped more sanctions on Iran in response to the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was arrested by the morality police and then died while in their custody.

Washington accused Iran of the “violent suppression” of nationwide anti-government protests sparked by her death.

Iran’s Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi and Communications Minister Eisa Zarepour, as well as five other senior leaders of Iran’s security apparatus, were hit by the sanctions.

Any assets of those affected in the US will be frozen. Business with them will be prohibited for US citizens.

“The rights to freedom of expression and of peaceful assembly are vital to guaranteeing individual liberty and dignity,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury Brian Nelson in a statement.

“The United States condemns the Iranian government’s internet shutdown and continued violent suppression of peaceful protest and will not hesitate to target those who direct and support such actions.”

Amini was arrested in mid-September for allegedly not complying with the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code on head coverings. What happened to Amini after that is unclear. Iranian authorities said she fell into a coma and died in hospital on September 16. Critics say she was a victim of police brutality.

The US government had already imposed sanctions on Iran’s morality police and high-ranking security officials in the wake of the protests.

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