US State Dept, Treasury, Congress all slam Iran for human rights violations, as protests enter third month

IRIB “cooperates extensively with security and intelligence agencies,” the Treasury Department explained, “including Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, to obtain and publicly disseminate forced confessions.”
Iranian people, especially women and the younger generation, have refused to halt their resistance movement (Photo: AFP)
Iranian people, especially women and the younger generation, have refused to halt their resistance movement (Photo: AFP)

WASHINGTON DC, United States (Kurdistan24) Wednesday marked the end of the second full month of protests in Iran, triggered by the Sept. 16 death of a young Kurdish woman, Jinna (Mahsa) Amini, in the custody of Tehran’s so-called morality police for not properly wearing a headscarf.

In Washington, three separate US government agencies issued statements, or even took measures, against the Iranian regime for its human rights violations.

They include the State Department, Treasury Department, and Congress.

Such measures reflect a significant change from just a short time ago—some seven weeks—when the Biden administration still saw a renewal of the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) as its top priority in the region.

Read More: US remains committed to JCPOA talks, despite Iran protests and regime crackdown

That is no longer the case, however, as Washington’s actions on Wednesday suggest.

State Department: Supports UN Human Rights Council on Iran

Asked about US plans for action at the UN Human Rights Council regarding Iran’s detention of protestors, including children, and its killing of over 300 demonstrators, Deputy Press Secretary Vedant Patel affirmed that the US remained “deeply concerned about the reports of mass arrests and sham trials—and now death sentences—for protestors.”

“For over two months since these protests began, security authorities have killed hundreds of peaceful protestors, who are outraged—as we are outraged—by the death of Mahsa Amini,” Patel continued, noting that many of the protestors were women and girls.

Their bravery and resilience even in the face of the regime’s “violent crackdown” is “an inspiration to the world,” he affirmed.

On Nov, 24, Patel explained, the UN Human Rights Council would hold a special session to address “the worsening human rights condition in Iran, especially as it relates to women, girls, and children.”

“The US strongly supports this call for a special session,” Patel said, “which was requested by our German partners and our partners in Iceland.”

And he ended by affirming, “The US is going to continue to voice our support for human rights and our support for the Iranian people.”

Treasury Department: Sanctions for Iran Broadcasters who Participate in Interrogations, Broadcast Interrogations

The US Treasury Department, in conjunction with the State Department, announced a new set of sanctions targeting six officials of a state-run media outlet: the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB.)

In announcing the new sanctions, the US made the somewhat startling revelation that at least some of the supposed journalists at the IRIB work in concert with Iran’s security forces to elicit, record and broadcast coerced confessions.

“IRIB acts not as an objective media outlet but rather as a key tool in the Iranian government’s mass suppression and censorship campaign against its own people,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken explained in a written statement.

“IRIB has broadcasted forced confessions of Iranian, dual national, and foreign national detainees in Iran” to “distort facts and spread disinformation about the ongoing protests,” Blinken stated.

Indeed, IRIB “has broadcast hundreds of forced confessions,” a Treasury Department statement said. “IRIB has produced and recently broadcast televised interviews” of people “forced to confess that their relatives were not killed by Iranian authorities during nationwide protests, but died due to accidental, unrelated causes.”

IRIB “cooperates extensively with security and intelligence agencies,” the Treasury Department explained, “including Iran/s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), to obtain and publicly disseminate forced confessions.”

That is done through “the use of torture, both physical and psychological; threats against family members; and degrading treatment to extract forced confessions,” it said.

Those sanctioned include IRIB’s Director and Deputy Director, along with two other senior IRIB officials.

Notably, those sanctioned also include two individuals, described by the Treasury Department as “interrogator-journalists:” Ali Rezvani and Ameneh Sadat Zabihpour.

“Both have cooperated with the MOIS and the IRGC Intelligence Organization in extracting and airing forced confessions in the style of documentaries,” Treasury stated. “Both feature prominently in the IRIB’s notorious 8:30 broadcast, which regularly airs forced confessions.”

House Foreign Affairs Committee Marks Two Months of Protests

The Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC), Rep. Gregory W. Meeks (Democrat, New York) and the Chair of the Subcommittee on Middle East, North Africa and Global Counterterrorism, along with 15 other Democratic members of the Committee issued a statement “recognizing two months since protests in Iran began.”

“We unequivocally stand with the brave women and men in Iran fighting for their freedoms and basic human rights,” the Congressmen said.

“It has been two months since protests erupted following Mahsa Amini’s death at the hands of Iran’s ‘Morality Police,’” they continued. “Since then, the Iranian regime has continued to act with impunity—violently cracking down on its own citizens, holding sham trials, and now issuing” death sentences to protestors.

“The brutality of the Iranian regime is unacceptable and cannot be ignored,” they affirmed, as they applauded the Biden administration for the measures it has taken against the Iranian regime and affirmed their commitment to continue working with it in order “to maintain pressure on the regime and to demand justice and accountability for the brave Iranians” who have lost their lives at its hands.