State Department Update on Iran’s Human Rights Abuses

May 17, 2017

On May 17, the U.S. State Department released a semi-annual report to Congress on sanctions imposed on individuals for human rights abuses committed in Iran. The following is the full text of a media note and the report.

U.S. State Department Issues Report on Human Rights Sanctions on Iran

DoS sealThe State Department released today its semi-annual report to Congress detailing sanctions imposed on persons involved in human rights abuses in Iran. The report cites recent sanctions against the Tehran Prisons Organization and Sohrab Soleimani, the former head of the Tehran Prisons Organization, as required by the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions Accountability and Divestment Act of 2010, as amended by the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012. Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Ambassador Stuart Jones gave the following statement on the report:

“As we continue to closely scrutinize Iran’s commitment to the JCPOA and develop a comprehensive Iran policy, we will continue to hold Iran accountable for its human rights abuses with new actions. We urge our partners around the world to join us in calling out individuals and entities who violate international sanctions targeting Iran’s human rights abuses.

“Whether it’s imprisoning people arbitrarily, inflicting physical abuse and torture, or executing juvenile offenders, the Iranian regime has for decades committed egregious human rights violations against its own people and foreign nationals, and this pattern of behavior must come to an end. The U.S. and its partners will continue to apply pressure on Iran to protect the human rights and fundamental freedoms for everyone in Iran. This includes the U.S. citizens wrongfully detained or missing in Iran, and we call on Iran to immediately return them to their families.

“In addition to the actions taken today, we are communicating to the U.S. Congress that the United States continues to waive sanctions as required to continue implementing U.S. sanctions-lifting commitments in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. This ongoing review does not diminish the United States’ resolve to continue countering Iran’s destabilizing activity in the region, whether it be supporting the Assad regime, backing terrorist organizations like Hezbollah, or supporting violent militias that undermine governments in Iraq and Yemen. And above all, the United States will never allow the regime in Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon.”

The report’s release coincides with the Department of the Treasury’s announcement of new sanctions related to Iran’s ballistic missile program. 

“Last month the Treasury Department imposed the first human rights-related sanctions designations against Iranian individuals and entities since December 2014, and we will continue to pursue initiatives around the world that uphold our core values of promoting and protecting human rights,” said Jones.

“The Treasury Department is imposing new sanctions on Iranian defense officials, an Iranian entity, and a China-based network that supplied missile-applicable items to a key Iranian defense entity. The action reflects concern with Iran’s continued development of ballistic missiles, which is in inconsistent with United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231. Iran continues to pursue missile-related technologies capable of delivering a nuclear weapon. The State Department will continue to partner with our colleagues at the Department of the Treasury to ensure our national security in the face of Iranian threats.” 

 

Report Pursuant to the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 (CISADA), as Amended

BUREAU OF ECONOMIC AND BUSINESS AFFAIRS
 

May 17, 2017

 


Iran has compiled one of the world’s most egregious records on human rights since the founding of the Islamic Republic in 1979, and its conduct has only grown worse in recent years. The United States has grave concerns about Iran’s human rights record, its denial of fundamental freedoms to the Iranian people, and the regime’s arbitrary and malicious detention of Iranian citizens and foreign nationals. This malign conduct represents a severe threat to the Iranian people as well as to international companies looking to do business with Iran whose employees may be subject to harassment, arrest, detainment, torture and even death. The Iranian regime’s malign conduct in the form of human rights abuses, denial of fundamental freedoms to the Iranian people, arbitrary arrests , support for terrorism, destabilizing regional activities, missile development, arms trafficking, threats to international shipping, and other dangerous behavior poses a significant risks to stability and security in the region.

The Iranian regime’s repression of its own people includes reports of over 800 political prisoners, composed of peaceful civic activists, journalists, women’s rights activists, religious and ethnic minorities, and opposition political figures. According to reporting from credible international NGOs and the UN, most of these individuals are detained arbitrarily and often receive excessively harsh sentences, up to and including death in some cases, without any meaningful fair trial guarantees such as the right to choose your own counsel or a credible appeals process. Security forces and prison officials reportedly use torture and physical abuse, denial of medical treatment, withholding of rights to family visitation, and threats against family members to extract forced confessions or further intimidate prisoners and detainees. Iran executed at least 469 individuals last year, including several juvenile offenders, with many executions carried out for drug-related crimes although Iran’s international legal obligations provide that death penalty only be imposed for “the most serious crimes.” In one day in August 2016, the government reportedly executed at least 20 individuals on charges of moharebeh (“enmity against God”), among them a number of Sunni Kurdish prisoners. Executions often follow proceedings that fall far short of Iran’s own legal requirements and international obligations to ensure fair trial guarantees. The government represses religious freedom of all individuals and has been designated a “Country of Particular Concern” under the International Religious Freedom Act since 1999. Many religious minorities report arbitrary arrests and prolonged detentions of their members because of their beliefs, as well as severe restrictions on their exercise of freedom of religion. For example, Christian convert Ebrahim Firuzi has been imprisoned since March 2013 on a variety of charges including “acting against national security.” Baha’i individuals face especially severe treatment by the government because of their beliefs, including harsh jail sentences for members of their leadership, limited access to public education and employment, confiscation of property, closure of businesses, and desecration and destruction of cemeteries. The government engages in widespread censorship of print and electronic media, and suppresses independent civil society through harassment, intimidation, and arrests.

Addressing Iran’s continued human rights violations and abuses remains a high priority for the U.S. government. We will continue to use all means at our disposal to hold the Iranian government accountable for its actions and press it to fully respect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all individuals in Iran consistent with its international obligations and commitments, including ensuring the right of freedom of expression and the right to participate in civil society and in the political process without fear of arbitrary arrest and detention or denial of fair trials. In this vein, we will continue to work with authorities granted by Congress as well as use existing executive orders to sanction persons involved in abuses of human rights in Iran.

Pursuant to the authorities delegated to the Secretary of State in Executive Order 13553, which implements Section 105 of the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 (CISADA) (Public Law 111-195), as well as in the October 9, 2012 Delegation of Certain Functions and Authorities Under the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012 (TRA), below is a list of individuals and entities determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with or at the recommendation of the Secretary of State, to meet the criteria in Sections 105(b) and 105B(b) of CISADA. Sections 105A and 105B of CISADA were implemented by Sections 2 and 3, respectively, of E.O. 13628. This report includes the updated information for Congress on the most recent designations that were announced on April 13, 2017 under Executive Order 13553: the designation of the Tehran Prisons Organization and Sohrab Soleimani, the former head of the Tehran Prisons Organization since the last report. These represent the first use of these human rights related sanctions authorities since December 2014.

The Departments of State and the Treasury continue to seek new targets, and Treasury will designate those persons determined to meet the relevant criteria as information becomes available.

The individuals designated to date under Executive Order 13553 are:

  • Abdollah Araghi, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Ground Forces Deputy Commander
  • Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi, Prosecutor General of Tehran
  • Hassan Firouzabadi, senior military advisor to the Supreme Leader, former Chairman of Iran’s Joint Chiefs of Staff
  • Mohammad Ali Jafari, Commander of the IRGC
  • Ismail Ahmadi Moghadam, former Commander of the Law Enforcement Forces
  • Sadeq Mahsouli, former Minister of Welfare and Social Security, former Minister of the Interior and Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces for Law Enforcement
  • Qolam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejei, Judiciary Spokesman, former Prosecutor-General of Iran, former Minister of Intelligence
  • Saeed Mortazavi, former head of Iranian Anti-Smuggling Task Force, former Prosecutor-General of Tehran
  • Heydar Moslehi, former Minister of Intelligence
  • Mostafa Mohammad Najjar, former Minister of the Interior and Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces for Law Enforcement
  • Mohammad Reza Naqdi, Commander of the Basij Guard Corps (IRGC)
  • Ahmad-Reza Radan, former Deputy Chief of Iran’s Law Enforcement Forces, Senior Iranian Law Enforcement Official
  • Hossein Taeb, Deputy Commander of the IRGC, Commander of the IRGC Intelligence Organization, former Commander of the Basij Forces
  • Asghar Mir-Hejazi, Intelligence advisor to the Supreme Leader
  • Sohrab Soleimani, Supervisor of the Office of the Deputy for Security and Law Enforcement of the State Prisons Organization, former Director General of the Tehran Prisons Organization

The entities designated to date under Executive Order 13553 are:

  • The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps
  • The Basij Resistance Force
  • Law Enforcement Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran
  • The Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security
  • Abyssec
  • Tehran Prisons Organization

The individuals designated to date under Section 2 or Section 3 of Executive Order 13628 are:

  • Ali Fazli, Deputy commander of the Basij
  • Rasool Jalili, Sharif University of Technology, member of the Supreme Council of Cyberspace
  • Ismail Ahmadi Moghadam, former Commander of the Law Enforcement Forces
  • Reza Taghipour, former Minister of Communications and Information Technology
  • Ezzatollah Zarghami, former Director of Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, member of the Supreme Council of Cyberspace
  • Morteza Tamaddon, former Governor-General of Tehran Province

The entities designated to date under Section 2 or Section 3 of Executive Order 13628 are:

  • Amn Afzar Gostar-e Sharif
  • Center to Investigate Organized Crime
  • Iranian Communications Regulatory Authority
  • Iran Electronic Industries
  • Iranian Cyber Police
  • Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting
  • Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance
  • PeykAsa
  • Press Supervisory Board
  • Committee to Determine Instances of Criminal Content
  • Ofogh Saberin Engineering Development Company
  • Douran Software Technologies

The Secretary of State will continue to exercise the functions delegated to him, including submitting updated lists to the appropriate congressional committees as required by CISADA Sections 105(b)(2), 105B(b)(2), and 105A(b)(4).