The State Department on Tuesday designated two Iranians for their “involvement in gross violations of human rights”, The Hill reported.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement that he was designating Ali Hemmatian and Masoud Safdari, two interrogators with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), for “their involvement in gross violations of human rights, namely the torture and/or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment (CIDTP) of political prisoners and persons detained during protests in 2019 and 2020 in Iran.”
The designation makes both Hemmatian and Safdari, as well as their immediate family members, ineligible for entry into the US.
“We will continue to consider all appropriate tools to impose costs on those responsible for human rights violations and abuses in Iran. We will also work with our allies to promote accountability for such violations and abuses," said Blinken.
"The United States will continue to support the rights of people in Iran and demand the Iranian government treat its people with respect and dignity," he added.
The move marks the first time that the Biden administration has imposed sanctions on Iranian officials for human rights violations.
It comes as President Joe Biden looks to renew negotiations with Iran on the 2015 nuclear deal, from which former President Trump withdrew in 2018.
The US recently accepted Europe's offer to mediate conversations with Iran regarding the 2015 nuclear deal. Iran, however, rejected the offer, saying that the “time was not right” to hold such talks.
The State Department has made clear that the United States’ patience with Iran on returning to discussions over the 2015 nuclear deal is “not unlimited”.