The United States Department of Treasury announced on Monday that it is imposing sanctions on Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Cooperative Foundation along with top Iranian officials. The Monday sanction marked the ninth round of sanctions imposed on Iranian officials who allegedly played a crucial role in the violent crackdown of the Iran protests.
The country is currently engulfed in anti-government protests that erupted after the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini. She died while she was in the custody of Iran’s Morality police. “Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is designating Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Cooperative Foundation and five of its board members, the Deputy Minister of Intelligence and Security, and four senior IRGC commanders in Iran under human rights authorities,” the department wrote in a press release on Monday.
The statement further said that the US is imposing sanctions on the group in coordination with the United Kingdom and European Union, as they believe that the sanctions will “target a key economic pillar of the IRGC”. Washington accused the group of funding much of the regime’s brutal suppression of the anti-hijab protestors.
Commenting on the new sanctions imposed on the group along with other senior officials, Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson asserted, “The United States remains committed to supporting the Iranian people in their demands for human rights and other fundamental freedoms.”
“Along with our partners, we will continue to hold the Iranian regime accountable so long as it relies upon violence, sham trials, the execution of protestors, and other means of suppressing its people,” he added. In December 2022, Washington imposed sanctions on the Prosecutor General of Iran Mohammad Jafar Montazeri, along with several other top Iranian officials.
What is the IRGC Cooperative Foundation?
According to the Monday press release, the IRGC Cooperative Foundation is an “economic conglomerate” established by IRGC officials. The foundation provides investment in several sectors of the Iranian economy. It also provides a major chunk of funding to Iran’s IRGC security officials. The IRGC officials have been notorious for conducting violence in the Iran protests which have been going on for the last four months.
Washington has also imposed sanctions on several prominent Iranian officials as well. The sanctioned individual include Ali Asghar Norouzi, the chairman of the foundation, Sayyed Amin Ala Emami Tabatabai, the vice chairman of the IRGC Cooperative Foundation along with Ahmad Karimi, Yahya Ala’oddini and Jamal Babamoradi who served on the IRGC Cooperative Foundation’s board of directors.
The US Department of Treasury has also sanctioned Naser Rashedi, the Deputy Minister for Intelligence in the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS). Washington alleged that Rashedi played a crucial role in the human rights abuse in the country. The department accused Rashedi of orchestrating an Internet crackdown in the country along with arbitrary use of surveillance and censorship.
What are the implications of the Sanctions?
According to the Monday press release, all the properties, and interests in properties of the sanctioned group and individual on American soil will be blocked and reported to the Office of Foreign Assets Control. The US administration will also block all entities that are owned by the sanctioned individuals. US citizens are prohibited to get into any sort of transaction with the IRGC Cooperative Foundation along with the sanctioned individuals.
The Department made it clear that the ultimate goal of the sanction is to bring about a “positive change in behaviour” of the sanctioned parties.