Sat. Oct 1st, 2022

The US government on Thursday imposed sanctions on Iran’s morality police and the heads of other government agencies following the death of a woman who was detained on charges of violating the country’s dress code by wearing her Islamic headscarf too wide.

The sanctions come after at least nine protesters have been killed in clashes with Iranian security forces since violence erupted over the weekend over the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini.

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Iran protests: At least 9 dead as clashes spread over death of Mahsa Amini

The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control also designated the heads of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security, Army Ground Forces, Basij Resistance Forces and other law enforcement agencies for sanctions, denying them access to their assets and bank accounts held in the US

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“These officials oversee organizations that routinely use violence to suppress peaceful protesters and members of Iranian civil society, political dissidents, women’s rights activists and members of Iran’s Baha’i community,” the Finance Ministry said in a press release.

Morality police arrested Amini last week, saying she did not properly cover her hair with the Islamic headscarf, known as the hijab, which is mandatory for Iranian women. Amini collapsed at the police station and died three days later.

Click to play video: 'Death of woman in custody of Iran's 'morality police' sparks outrage'

The death of a woman in the custody of Iran’s ‘morality police’ has sparked outrage

The death of a woman in the custody of Iran’s ‘morality police’ has sparked outrage

Police say she died of a heart attack and deny she was abused. The government released a video purportedly showing the moment it collapsed. Her family says she had no history of heart problems, and her death in police custody sparked a brazen display of defiance from protesters, who faced beatings and possible arrest.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the US is calling on the Iranian government “to end its violence against women and its continued violent suppression of freedom of expression and assembly.”

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“Mahsa Amini was a brave woman whose death in moral police custody is yet another act of brutality by the Iranian regime’s security forces against their own people,” Yellen said.

Read more:

Iran protests: Women burn hijabs, cut their hair after the death of a woman in police custody

Amini’s death prompted Iranians to take to the streets of Tehran and other parts of the country. Many Iranians, especially young people, saw her death as part of the Islamic Republic’s crackdown on dissent and increasingly violent police treatment of young women.

An Iranian state television anchor suggested the death toll in the mass protests could be as high as 17, but did not say how he came up with that figure.

Iran has faced global condemnation over Amini’s death, with the UN’s human rights office calling for an investigation.

© 2022 The Canadian Press

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