The Trump administration continued to tighten the screws on the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism on Friday as Special Envoy to Iran Brian Hook announced new sanctions against a top general in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which is a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO).
“The United States is listing IRGC Brigadier General Hassan Shahvarpour under section 7031c visa sanctions. General Shahvarpour committed gross violations of human rights against protestors in Mahshahr. He oversaw the massacre of 148 helpless Iranians in the Mahshahr region last November,” Hook said. “General Shahvarpour was in command of units responsible for the violent crackdown and lethal repression around Mahshahr. This is the first designation on an Iranian regime official being taken under the State Department authority from section 7031c authorities.”
Hook noted that the tip-line that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo established last November has received 88,000 tips from the people of Iran.
“Since the violent crackdown on protests last November, the United States has sanctioned two judges and eight other regime officials for their roles in brutalizing the Iranian people. We are continuing to review all information we receive from the Iranian people and will continue to hold more regime officials responsible for human rights violations,” Hook continued. “Over the past week, many Iranians took to the streets again to protest a corrupt government that lies to them. President Trump recognized their courage with his tweets in Farsi this past week standing with the Iranian people. We call on all nations to join our lead, particularly by sanctioning Iranian officials for human rights violations.”
“The Iranian regime is in a deep economic crisis. Back in May of 2018, shortly after leaving the Iran nuclear deal, Secretary Pompeo said that we will deny revenue to Iran’s clerics who use it to fund terrorism and violence across the region,” Hook stated. “He said that Iran’s expansionist foreign policy would no longer be cost-free, and that the economic price would be severe. We have succeeded in raising the costs for Iran, and the regime is badly managing an economic crisis of its own making.”
“Iran’s oil exports are down by more than 2 million barrels per day, reducing Iran’s revenue from oil by more than 80%. This amounts to a loss of around $50 billion annually,” Hook added. “Today the question people are asking is whether the regime has the competence to avoid a banking disaster and hyperinflation. The Iranian economy this year could contract by as much as 14 percent.”
The move by the State Department comes after the Treasury Department announced additional sanctions “against any individual owning, operating, trading with, or assisting sectors of the Iranian economy, including construction, manufacturing, textiles, and mining.”
— Department of State (@StateDept) January 17, 2020
The U.S. State Department provided the following additional information about IRGC Brigadier General Hassan Shahvarpour:
.An individual designated under Section 7031(c), as well as their immediate family members, is ineligible for entry into the United States.
.Various open source media, along with statements by Iranian officials and information submitted by the Iranian people to the Rewards for Justice tip-line present a consistent timeline and scope of the killings in Mahshahr. They also indicate that the excessive use of force against protestors was perpetrated, at least in part, by Khuzestan Province’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards.
.By nature of his position, Shahravar likely had knowledge of the operation to suppress the protests and the subsequent gross violations of human rights that were committed by his subordinates. Shahvarpour failed to prevent or stop his subordinates from committing the killings that took place in Mahshahr.
.There is no information indicating that Shahvarpour initiated an investigation into these gross violations of human rights.
.In light of these circumstances, the United States is placing a visa sanction on Khuzestan Province’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Vali Asr Commander Brigadier General Hassan Shahvarpour for his involvement in the gross violations of human rights against protestors during the November protests in Mahshahr.
.This U.S. action is taken pursuant to Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2019, which is an ineligibility for entry into the United Sates of officials of foreign governments and their immediate family members for whom the Secretary of State has credible information on their involvement in gross violations of human rights.
.It demonstrates the United States’ continued commitment to the Iranian people in supporting their demands for accountability from Iranian officials who committed serious human rights abuses against protestors in November 2019.