Pompeo announces new Iran designations and visa restrictions

US Secretary of State calls November protests by Iranians a unifying moment

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivers remarks on human rights in Iran at the State Department in Washington, U.S., December 19, 2019. REUTERS/Erin Scott

The US issued a new batch of designations and sanctions against Iran on Thursday.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said his country stood with the Iranian people suffering under the "towering hypocrisy" of the regime.

"The Iranian people are fed up," Mr Pompeo told a symposium at the State Department dedicated to exposing Iran’s human rights breaches and mistreatment of religious minorities.

"Iran's human rights violations are worse than unacceptable. They're evil and they're wrong."

Mr Pompeo said the November protests across the country's major cities were a unifying moment for Iranians to regain their dignity.

Amnesty International estimated that at least 304 protesters were killed and thousands arrested in the strife.

In response, Mr Pompeo announced sanctions on two judges involved in the crackdown.

A statement by the US Treasury Department identified the judges as Abolghassem Salavati and Mohammad Moghisseh.

It said they "oversaw the Iranian regime's miscarriage of justice in show trials in which journalists, attorneys, political activists, and members of Iran's ethnic and religious minority groups were penalised for exercising their freedom of expression and assembly, and sentenced to lengthy prison terms, lashes, and even execution.”

The sanctions also apply to the judges' children.

Mr Pompeo also revealed new visa restrictions against current or former Iranian officials who were involved in the crackdown.

“Thugs killing people’s children will not be allowed to send their own children to study in the United States of America,” he said.

“Appeasement of the regime will not work,” Mr Pompeo said, adding that Washington remained committed to standing with the Iranian people.

He said the US government received more than 36,000 pieces of information on Iran's human rights breaches since the protests started on November 15.

Mr Pompeo said the US was calling on the Iranian regime to "fulfil the first duty of any government".

"Treat your people with basic dignity, to which every member of the family of mankind is entitled," he said.

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