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Monika Scislowska, Associated Press
Monika Scislowska, Associated Press
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The United States has joined the European Union in imposing sanctions on a new group of Iranian officials and organizations suspected in the security crackdown on protestors.
Watch the briefing in the player above.
“Today’s action is the latest of numerous tranches of sanctions made in close consultation with our allies and partners and aimed at Iranian individuals and entities connected to Iranian authority’s cruel and violent crackdown against peaceful protesters,” State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said.
At a meeting in Brussels, EU foreign ministers agreed to slap a travel ban and asset freeze on Iran’s Sports and Youth Minister Hamid Sajjadi, accusing him of pressuring Iran’s athletes into silence, including an Iranian climber who competed without Islamic headdress at a competition in Seoul.
The Iranian Special Police Forces were also targeted, accused of using “excessive violence and lethal force against unarmed protestors, including women and children … by firing automatic weapons at protestors.”
The 27-nation bloc had already imposed three rounds of sanctions on Iranian officials and organizations – including ministers, military officers and Iran’s morality police – for human rights abuses over the protests that erupted in Iran in mid-September over the death of Mahsa Amini.
The 22-year-old woman died after being arrested by the morality police for allegedly violating the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code. Women have played a leading role in the protests, with many publicly removing the compulsory Islamic headscarf, known as the hijab.
“Today we are united with our allies and partners and the need to confront Iran’s leadership for its human rights abuses and destabilizing activities, which should alarm the entire world,” Price said.
WATCH: Iranians protesting regime refuse to back down despite threats of arrest and execution
The State Department is also continuing to push for NATO membership for Sweden and Finland, despite opposition by Turkey.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan cast serious doubt on NATO’s expansion Monday after warning Sweden not to expect support following weekend protests in Stockholm by an anti-Islam activist and pro-Kurdish groups.
Erdogan slammed Rasmus Paludan’s Quran-burning protest on Saturday, saying it was an insult to everyone, especially to Muslims.
On Monday, Price told reporters that both Sweden and Finland are ready to join the alliance because of their military capabilities and democratic values.
Price also defended Germany’s go-slow approach on agreeing to allow Ukraine to use German-produced Leopard 2 battle tanks in its fight against Russia.
Poland said Monday it would ask Berlin for permission to send German-built Leopard tanks to Ukraine as its Western allies move to supply Kyiv with more powerful military hardware to thwart Russia’s invasion.
Germany has hesitated to approve sending tanks to Ukraine. But Polish officials took heart from remarks Sunday by German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock that Berlin wouldn’t seek to stop Poland from providing Leopard 2 battle tanks.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki didn’t specify when the request to Germany will be made. He said that Poland is building a coalition of nations ready to send Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine.
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