Iran riots
Iran riots iStock

The United States announced it was placing sanctions on Iran’s morality police on Thursday in response to "abuse and violence against Iranian women and the violation of the rights of peaceful Iranian protesters.”

The sanctions were imposed by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control and will also target seven senior leaders of Iran’s security apparatus, Deutsche Welle reported.

The measure came after the US government called for accountability in the aftermath of the death of Mahsa Amini, an Iranian woman who was arrested in Tehran last week for wearing an “improper hijab.”

Amini, 22, slipped into a coma while in custody in Tehran and subsequently died.

Reports on social media said Amini had been detained by the so-called “morality police” after officers found fault with her hijab.

The Treasury Department blamed the morality police for Amini’s death in a statement detailing the sanctions.

"Mahsa Amini was a courageous woman whose death in morality police custody was yet another act of brutality by the Iranian regime's security forces against its own people," Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said.

The other senior Iranian officials sanctioned included morality police head Mohammad Rostami Cheshmeh Gachi, Minister of Intelligence Esmail Khatib and Ground Forces commander Kioumars Heidari.

"These officials oversee organizations that routinely employ violence to suppress peaceful protesters and members of Iranian civil society, political dissidents, women's rights activists, and members of the Iranian Baha'i community," the Treasury said.

Protests that erupted after Amini’s death on September 13 have led to at least 17 fatalities, according to Iranian state media.