The United States on Tuesday imposed sanctions on more than a dozen people and entities in Syria, accusing them of being connected to serious human rights abuses and repressive acts.
The Treasury Department said in a statement it was targeting repression and the undermining of democracy, designating individuals and entities tied to the deadly chemical weapons attacks against civilians in Syria.
Washington blacklisted two senior air force officers of the Assad regime it accused of being responsible for chemical weapon attacks on civilians and three senior officers in its security and intelligence apparatus, according to the statement.
The action freezes any US assets of those blacklisted and generally bars Americans from dealing with them.
“The Treasury will continue to defend against authoritarianism, promoting accountability for the violent repression of people seeking to exercise their human rights and fundamental freedoms,” said Andrea Gacki, director of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.
The sanctions also concerned designating individuals and entities tied to the violent suppression of peaceful protesters in Iran. The US designated the Special Units of Iran’s Law Enforcement Forces and Counter-Terror Special Forces, as well as several of their officials, and Gholamreza Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s Basij militia. Two prisons and a prison director were also blacklisted over events that reportedly took place in the prisons.
Iran criticized the United States for imposing new sanctions days before talks are set to resume in Vienna on rescuing the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
“Even amid the Vienna talks, the US cannot stop imposing sanctions against Iran,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Twitter. “Doubling down on sanctions will not create leverage — and is anything but seriousness and goodwill.”