Advertisement

US places visa restrictions on 14 Iranians in increasing aggression towards Iran

'These actions send message of support to Islamic Republic of Iran’s many victims worldwide,' says top US diplomat

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The US on Friday hit 14 unnamed Iranian individuals with visa restrictions over their alleged involvement in rights violations.

In announcing the penalties, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the individuals and their immediate families are being sanctioned for their “involvement in gross violations of human rights on behalf of the Iranian regime, the world’s leading state sponsor of terror.”

US increases aggression towards Iran

“These actions send a message of support to the Islamic Republic of Iran’s many victims worldwide that we will promote accountability for those who spread terror and violence,” the top diplomat said in a statement.

Pompeo charged 13 of the individuals with involvement in a 1990 assassination in Switzerland in which they posed as Iranian diplomats, and carried out the act in order “to silence opposition and show that no one is safe from the Iranian regime, no matter where they live.”

Read more: Trump set to restrict immigration: no entry to USA for visa holders from Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Iran…

“The United States will not stand for the Iranian regime silencing its critics through violence and terror,” he said.

Pompeo said the officials, who he called “assassins,” posed as Iranian diplomats and acted “under the highest orders of their government to silence opposition and show that no one is safe from the Iranian regime.”

Tensions between Washington and Tehran have spiked since Trump unilaterally withdrew in 2018 from the Iran nuclear deal struck by his predecessor, Barack Obama, and began reimposing sanctions that had been eased under the accord.

The United States moved on Thursday to restore U.N. sanctions on Iran, including an arms embargo, arguing Tehran was in violation of the deal it struck with world powers in 2015 even though Washington itself abandoned the agreement.

The U.S. State Department did not name the 13, but in a statement said it was also designated a 14th Iranian, Hojatollah Khodaei Souri, who it said as director of Iran’s Evin Prison ran an institution “synonymous with torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.”

“The United States will continue to pressure Iran to treat its own people with dignity and respect,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.

Pompeo claims officials banned from travelling in reference to Kazem murder

Pompeo’s statement barring the 13 officials from travelling to the United States was likely in reference to the 1990 killing of Kazem Rajavi, a leading opponent of the Iranian Government who was shot near his home in Switzerland, Reuters reported at the time, citing relatives.

Pompeo declined to provide details of the “credible information” he said the State Department has about the 14 individuals but insisted they were engaged in “gross violations of human rights.”

“These actions send a message of support to the Islamic Republic of Iran’s many victims worldwide that we will promote accountability for those who spread terror and violence,” he said.

“The United States will continue to pressure Iran to treat its own people with dignity and respect. Iran conducts assassinations and terrorism abroad to spread its reign of terror well beyond its own borders.”

Pompeo said the 13 Iranians “posed as Iranian diplomats” and had acted “under the highest orders of their government to silence opposition” and intimidate expatriates who have criticized the regime in Tehran.

“No one is safe from the Iranian regime, no matter where they live,” he added. “The United States will not stand for the Iranian regime silencing its critics through violence and terror.”

Pompeo said the ban on Souri is related to his role in supervising a system of human rights violations in Evin Prison, where government critics are locked up, tortured and even killed.

Rajavi was the brother of the leader of the People’s Mujahedeen, a leftist guerrilla group. The Mujahedeen’s European office in Paris at the time issued a statement quoting Massoud Rajavi as saying the Iranian Embassy in Switzerland organized the killing.

He also said the US was also publicly designating Hojatollah Khodaei Souri, the director of Iran’s notorious Evin Prison.

Souri “oversaw an institution synonymous with torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.”

“Evin Prison has been used to oppress peaceful Iranian protestors and journalists, as well as foreigners who are swept up and imprisoned to be held hostage to squeeze concessions out of their home governments,” he said.

Read more: US and China Eye to Eye; Imposing New Visa Restrictions

It is unclear if the prison director is the fourteenth individual being hit with visa restrictions.

Anadolu with additional input by GVS News Desk

Latest

New Afghan Cricket board chief appointed by Taliban

Taliban appoint new Afghan Cricket board chief by sacking Shinwari and replacing him with Khan. This appointment reflects the second change the Taliban made in the national game's governing body after banning women to play cricket.