US sanctions Iranians linked to Khamenei, including his son

Orient Net 2019-11-05 08:06:00

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The United States has slapped sanctions on nine people connected to Iranian regime's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, among them his chief of staff, one of his sons, and the head of Iran's judiciary.

The US Treasury Department said in a statement on Monday (November 4) that Washington also sanctioned Iranian armed forces General Staff.

The Treasury's announcement on November 4 came as Tehran said it had further scaled back its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, saying it is now operating twice as many advanced centrifuges banned by the agreement.

"Today the Treasury Department is targeting the unelected officials who surround Iranian regime’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, and implement his destabilizing policies," US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in the statement.

"These individuals are linked to a wide range of malign behaviors by the regime, including bombings of the US Marine Barracks in Beirut in 1983 and the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association in 1994, as well as torture, extrajudicial killings, and repression of civilians," Mnuchin said.

Among those targeted by the US sanctions are Khamenei's chief of staff Mohammad Mohammadi Golpayegani and Vahid Haghanian, who the department said "has been referred to as the Supreme Leader’s right hand."

Treasury also said that Ebrahim Raisi, who Khamenei appointed in March to lead Iran’s judiciary, and Mojtaba Khamenei, Khamenei's second son, were also placed under sanctions.

The measures freeze any US-controlled property or interests held by those targeted and prohibit anyone or any entities in the United States from dealing with those sanctioned.

The United States also announced a reward of up to $20 million for information about former FBI agent Robert Levinson, who disappeared in Iran in 2007.

The State Department says Levinson was taken hostage in Iran with the complicity of the Iranian regime. Tehran has never acknowledged arresting him. Combined with a $5 million reward already in place from the FBI, this makes a total of $25 million available to whomever is able to provide information about Levinson.

The announcement came on the 40th anniversary of the 1979 student takeover of the US Embassy in Tehran and the subsequent 444-day hostage crisis -- which the White House called a "brazen act."

Based on RFE

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