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Treasury and State sanction Iran over woman’s death in custody of Morality Police

The Treasury and State departments on Thursday announced new sanctions on Iran’s Morality Police and other senior security officials following the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian who died while being held by authorities for allegedly violating the country’s strictly enforced dress code for women.

Amini, whose death has sparked protests across Iran, was arrested Sept. 13 for purportedly wearing a hijab too loosely. Iranian officials claim Amini’s death at Kasra Hospital in northern Tehran three days after her arrest was the result of a heart attack, but hospital officials reported that Amini arrived with severe brain trauma caused by “multiple blows to the head.”

In addition to the Morality Police, the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control announced sanctions in a press release on seven senior leaders from a number of Iran’s security organizations, including the country’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security, the Army’s Ground Forces, Basij Resistance Forces and Law Enforcement Forces, accusing them of “abuse and violence against Iranian women and the violation of the rights of peaceful Iranian protestors.”

“Mahsa Amini was a courageous woman whose death in Morality Police custody was yet another act of brutality by the Iranian regime’s security forces against its own people,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a statement. “We condemn this unconscionable act in the strongest terms and call on the Iranian government to end its violence against women and its ongoing violent crackdown on free expression and assembly.”

“The Iranian government needs to end its systemic persecution of women and allow peaceful protest,” a spokesperson for the State Department said in a statement. “The United States will continue to voice our support for human rights in Iran and hold those who violate them to account.”

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