25 June 2019- The Executive Order issued yesterday by the US President imposes sanctions on Iran’s Supreme Leader Seyyed Ali Khamenei, all the individuals appointed by him, all the entities owned or controlled by them, and any individual or legal entity which is related to them in any way. As a result, many within the Islamic Republic of Iran’s ruling class who have ordered or perpetrated serious human rights violations will be subjected to international punitive measures.
Some of the people appointed by the Supreme Leader include Ebrahim Raisi, a member of the ‘Death Commission’ responsible for the 1988 massacres of political prisoners; Hossein Shariatmadari, the editor-in-chief of Kayhan newspaper, responsible for incitement of hatred against Baha’is and collaborating with security forces to crack down on activists and journalists; the Guardian Council’s members, including Ahmad Jannati, one of those responsible for the bloody aftermath of the ‘Cultural Revolution’ and breaches of freedom of election; members of the High Council of Cyberspace, responsible for violating freedom of information and speech; Mohsen Rezaei, one of the perpetrators of suppressing political opposition in the post-revolution of 1979 era; Ghorbanali Dorri-Najafabadi, the Minister of Intelligence during the 1998 ‘chain murders’ of dissidents; and Hossein Ashtari, Commander-in-Chief of Iran’s police forces, responsible for suppressing nationwide protests during December 2017-January 2018 and the suppression of women protesting against compulsory hijab. Justice for Iran has published records of the human rights violations of Seyyed Ali Khamenei, the perpetrators above and those of many others in its 2019 publication, Faces of Crime.
Based on this Executive Order, the US Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of State are tasked with banning the US entries of those targeted and blocking their financial assets in the country.
Unlike the sanctions that targeted entire industries such as oil and steel causing an increase in layoffs and unemployment for thousands of workers, the 24 June 2019 Executive Order targets a part of the Islamic Republic’s ruling class which has enjoyed maximum impunity and acquired vast monetary profits through extensive corruption and embezzlement due to their appointment by the Supreme Leader.