The United States has imposed new sanctions on Iran one year after the death of Mahsa Amini, a woman who was killed in police custody after being arrested for wearing a headscarf too loosely.
Amini, originally from Saqqez in Iranian Kurdistan, was arrested on September 13, 2022 while visiting family members in Tehran.
The 22-year-old was arrested by the nation’s Guidance Patrol, also known as the ‘morality police,’ who are responsible for enforcing Iran’s law mandatory headscarf law.
Three days later, she was dead in police custody.
Eyewitnesses said she was severely beaten by members of the Guidance Patrol, although this claim has not been confirmed by Iranian authorities.
Amini’s death sparked a nation-wide protest movement, which saw tens of thousands of women across the Islamic Republic demanding an end to the hijab mandate.
Protesters marched through the streets of Iranian cities, ripping off their headscarves and cutting their hair in defiance of the Guidance Patrol.
The Iranian government responded with a brutal crackdown, which included mass arrests, ‘sham’ trials, executions, and internet blackouts.
A year later, Iran Human Rights reported at least 551 people have been killed by state forces in the protests since Amini’s death.
The NGO also reported that 22 protesters, including four children, died under ‘suspicious’ circumstances.
On the anniversary of Amini’s death, US President Joe Biden said his administration was ‘committed’ to standing with the Iranian people after the tragedy.
‘Jill and I join people around the world in remembering her — and every brave Iranian citizen who has been killed, wounded or imprisoned by the Iranian regime for peacefully demanding democracy and their basic human dignity,’ Biden said.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced a new round of sanctions against Iran, aimed at targeting those responsible for the crackdown on protests last year.
The new sanctions target 25 Iranian individuals, as well as three state-backed media companies, one internet research firm, which the State Department says to the ‘violent suppression of nationwide protests following [Amini’s] death.’
Similar sanctions are expected to be announced in the following week by US allies, including the UK, Canada, and Australia.
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