Iran is set to announce sanctions on a number of American individuals and entities involved in flagrant violations of human rights, days after Washington targeted the Islamic Republic with new bans over baseless claims of rights abuses.
Kazem Gharibabadi, the Iranian Judiciary chief’s deputy and secretary general of the country’s High Council for Human Rights, said Thursday that the blacklist of US individuals and entities was scheduled to be released soon.
The top human rights official said the latest decision by the US to target Iranians with sanctions was “a continuation of the failed maximum pressure policy against the Iranian nation and the use of sanctions as a tool for political gains.”
He said the US cannot claim to be an advocate of freedom and human rights in Iran while jeopardizing the lives of ordinary Iranians by blocking their access to medicine and medical equipment.
“This is not acceptable at all and is more like a bitter joke,” Gharibabadi stated.
He added that the US must be held accountable for committing violence against peaceful protesters and police killings of innocent people.
“George Floyd is merely one among countless people killed in the worst possible way publicly, without justice being served,” he said.
He was pointing to the high-profile case of an African-American man, who was caught on camera suffocating to death in May 2020 when a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for over nine minutes during an arrest. The tragic death became the face of a movement challenging police brutality and bias in the US criminal justice system.
The Iranian official also referred to the dire conditions of US prisons, the large number of women in jail, and the use of torture against prisoners as proof to the deplorable human rights violations by the US government.
The US Treasury and State Department announced the anti-Iran sanctions on Tuesday, two days before the resumption of negotiations in Vienna to revive the Iran nuclear deal by removing Washington’s sanctions, which it slapped on the Islamic Republic after withdrawing from the nuclear pact, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
“The United States is committed to promoting democracy and accountability for those who abuse human rights around the world,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken claimed in a statement on Tuesday.
In response, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said that by doubling down on sanctions, the US cannot gain leverage at the Vienna talks, and that the move showed anything but seriousness and goodwill on Washington’s part.
“Even amid Vienna talks, US cannot stop imposing sanctions against Iran,” Khatibzadeh wrote in a tweet, adding that Washington fails to understand that the “maximum pressure” policy and a diplomatic breakthrough at the talks are “mutually exclusive.”
The JCPOA was signed between Iran and six world powers, namely the US, Russia, China, France, Britain, and Germany. In 2018, the US withdrew from the deal despite Iran’s full compliance with it, targeting Tehran with the so-called maximum pressure campaign to force a “better dear.”
Early this year, the US voiced willingness to rejoin the deal, but instead of removing its illegal sanctions as a prerequisite, it has retained the sanctions and piled on with new ones.
Iran argues that the US needs to remove all of the sanctions in order to regain its membership in the JCPOA.