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US Slaps New Sanctions on Iran Targeting Tehran Revolutionary Court Judges

Earlier Thursday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani revealed that a sanctions-happy Washington had slapped his country with over 90 sets of restrictions against the Iranian state, Iranian companies and Iranian nationals in the past year-and-a-half alone.

The United States has imposed sanctions on two top judges on the Revolutionary Court, the Treasury Department said in a press release Thursday.

According to the Treasury, the designations target Mohammad Moghisseh and Abolghasem Salavati, the heads of two branches of the Tehran Revolutionary Court. The judges have been added to the Treasury’s so-called ‘specially designated nationals and blocked persons list’, a listing comprising literally thousands of names and entities.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed later Thursday that the US would unveil further sanctions, targeting both current and former officials, over their alleged abuse of protesters. According to Pompeo, the US has accumulated some 36,000 pieces of information about Iran’s human rights violations.

Iran’s network of ‘revolutionary courts’ is the part of the judicial system charged with trying serious crimes including treason, drug smuggling offences, and crimes undermining the country’s national security. The courts were established after the Islamic Revolution of 1979, which saw the overthrow of Iran’s US-backed government by a coalition of revolutionaries.

Iran Sanctions

Earlier in the day, speaking at the Kuala Lumpur Summit of Muslim-majority nations, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called on the Muslim world to combine its efforts to end the US’s “arrogant domination” of the world’s economy and finance, saying the countries should take concrete measures to “free” themselves “from the domination of America’s financial system and the US dollar.”

According to Rouhani, the United States has placed more than 90 sanctions measures on Iran since May 2018, when the Trump administration moved to unilaterally withdraw from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

After scrapping the nuclear deal, Washington slapped Tehran with a series of sanctions targeting Iranian individuals, companies, the state, and the country’s banking and energy sectors. In addition to targeting Iran, the US threatened to introduce so-called ‘secondary sanctions’ against countries, companies and individuals doing business with the Islamic Republic, leading to a dramatic decline in Iran’s energy exports, an important source of income for the country’s budget.

Iran became racked by violent protests in November over the government’s decision to increase fuel prices as part of a programme of increased subsidies for low-income citizens. The protests have led to large-scale street violence, and the deaths of up to several hundred protesters and security personnel.

In his speech Thursday, Rouhani said that his country’s economy had found ways to resist sanctions pressure, with lawmakers presently reviewing a budget that’s completely independent of the need for oil exports.