US announces new round of sanctions on Iran's top prosecutor, a vehicle manufacturer, and officials from the elite Revolutionary Guards.
The United States has targeted Iran's prosecutor general in its latest sanctions over Tehran's reaction to major protests, deploring his role in executions.
"We again call on Iran's leadership to immediately cease its violent crackdown and to listen to its people. We will continue to promote accountability for those involved as we support the Iranian people," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement on Wednesday.
“The United States continues to support the people of Iran in the face of this brutal repression, and we are rallying growing international consensus to hold the regime accountable."
The Treasury Department said that the prosecutor general, Mohammad Jafar Montazeri, was responsible for human rights abuses, including torture and death-penalty trials of protesters.
“We denounce the Iranian regime’s intensifying use of violence against its own people who are advocating for their human rights,” Treasury said in a statement, noting that Montazeri has presided over prosecutions of protesters, some of whom have been executed or condemned to death.
The hanging earlier this month of Mohsen Shekari, the first person known to be executed over the protests, bore "little resemblance to a meaningful trial," a Treasury Department statement said.
Montazeri drew widespread attention earlier this month when he was quoted as saying that the state was abolishing the morality police, which enforces strict codes on women's dress.
Montazeri's apparently off-the-cuff remarks drew scepticism, and there were no signs of follow-up in ending the notorious unit.
READ MORE: Parents plead Iran judiciary to spare son who faces imminent death penalty
Iranian authorities have killed hundreds of peaceful protestors, including children, issued harsh sentences, including the death penalty following sham trials, and detained thousands. Today, we are sanctioning Iranian officials and an Iranian entity connected to these abuses.— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) December 21, 2022
Manufacturer, officials sanctioned
Also hit by the sanctions was company Imen Sanat Zaman Fara, the manufacturer of vehicles used in crowd suppression, and four officials from the elite Revolutionary Guards, including one involved in monitoring the internet.
The move blocks any US assets and criminalises transactions with targeted officials and companies who are not known to have significant holdings in the United States -- which already maintains sweeping sanctions against Tehran.
The protests, Iran's most widespread in years, broke out after the death in the morality police's custody in September of a 22-year-old woman.
She had been arrested by the morality police for allegedly violating the country's dress code.
500 protesters have been killed, with at least 18,000 arrested, according to Human Rights Activists in Iran, a group that has been closely monitoring the unrest.
More than 60 security forces have been killed, according to the group.
READ MORE: Iran issues first death sentence over protests — report