The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (Ofac) on Wednesday imposed sanctions on three Iranian security officials.
The measures were in response to the regime’s continued violence towards its citizens protesting against the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died while being held by the morality police for allegedly violating the country's dress code.
At least 426 people have been killed and more than 17,400 people arrested, says Human Rights Activists in Iran, a group monitoring the latest unrest.
"The United States continues to support the Iranian people as they protest nationwide," US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement. "The human rights abuses inflicted by Iran’s government on its people must not go without consequence."
Brian E Nelson, Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, said: “The Iranian regime is reportedly targeting and gunning down its own children, who have taken to the street to demand a better future. The abuses being committed in Iran against protesters, including most recently in Mahabad, must stop.”
The latest action targets key city officials of Sanandaj: Hassan Asgari, the governor of Sanandaj, and Alireza Moradi, the commander of LEF forces in Sanandaj.
Also targeted is Mohammad Taghi Osanloo, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' Ground Forces commander that oversees Iran’s West Azerbaijan province which includes the city of Mahabad, one of the IRGC’s most important commands. In recent days, the IRGC has sent additional forces to Kurdish cities in Iran, including Mahabad, in response to the continuing protests.
Meanwhile, residents in Kurdish cities in north-western Iran, such as Sanandaj and Mahabad, have reported city lockdowns at the hands of military forces, as well as abrupt disruption to key services, including internet, phone and even the water supply. In the past few days, dozens of protesters have reportedly been killed in the Kurdish region alone.