Designation of Iranian Officials and Entities Connected to Ongoing Protest Repression, Censorship, and Prison Abuses
OCTOBER 26, 2022
It has been 40 days since the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in the custody of Iran’s so-called “Morality Police,” and we join her family and the Iranian people for a day of mourning and reflection.
The United States is committed to supporting the Iranian people and ensuring that those responsible for the brutal crackdown on the ongoing nationwide protests in Iran are held accountable. Today, we are announcing a joint action between the State and Treasury Departments designating 14 individuals and three entities using five different authorities, demonstrating our commitment to use all appropriate tools to hold all levels of the Iranian government to account.
Specifically, we are designating six officials of the Government of Iran who are responsible for or complicit in serious human rights abuses: Hedayat Farzadi, Seyyed Heshmatollah Hayat al-Ghaib, Heidar Pasandideh, Murad Fathi, Morteza Piri, and Mohammad Hossein Khosravi. They hold leadership positions within Iran’s prison system, including at Evin Prison, and the in Provinces of Sistan and Baluchistan and Kurdistan, among others. The United States is also designating Hossein Modarres Khiabani, the governor of the Province of Sistan and Baluchistan, for his role in overseeing the violent response by security forces against peaceful protestors. These individuals are being designated pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13553.
The United States is also designating three individuals who actively serve as commanders in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) for their brutal responses to protests in Iran. Mohammad Kazemi, Abbas Nilforushan, and Ahmad Shafahi have served in senior leadership roles in the IRGC and have been directly responsible for the suppression of peaceful protests and arrests of peaceful protesters, including in Sistan and Baluchistan. These individuals are being designated for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the IRGC, pursuant to E.O. 13553.
The United States is designating two entities involved in censorship, surveillance, and malicious cyber activity against the Iranian people. The Ravin Academy, a training institute that specializes in cyber security and the training of hackers, assisted the Ministry of Intelligence of Iran (MOIS) with personnel training and recruitment. Hackers trained at the Ravin Academy have been involved in directly disrupting the communication of those protesting against the Iranian regime. Seyed Mojtaba Mostafaviand Farzin Karimi, the two MOIS members who co-founded the Ravin Academy, are being designated pursuant to E.O. 13606 for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the Ravin Academy. Further, the Samane GostarSahab Pardaz Private Limited Company is being designated under E.O. 13846 for working with Iran’s government to surveil the Iranian people and limit access to foreign social media platforms.
We are also designating the Iranian commander and chief of police in Isfahan Province, Mohammed Reza Mirheydary, under Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2022, for his involvement in gross violations of human rights, namely the cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment of peaceful protestors during the November 2021 protests in Isfahan, Iran. As a result of today’s action, Mirheydary is ineligible for entry into the United States.
Finally, consistent with section 106 of Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act of 2017, we are identifying and imposing sanctions on two individuals and one entity implicated in extrajudicial killings, torture, or other gross violations of internationally recognized human rights committed against individuals in Iran. Bushehr Prison has reportedly been the site of several human rights abuses and Mohammed Reza Ostad was the warden of that facility while gross violations of human rights occurred there. Mohammed Reza Mirheydary is the commander and chief of the police force in Isfahan Province. He was the commander of a November 2021 operation to suppress peaceful protesters, and he oversaw the mistreatment of the protestors.
The United States is committed to working to promote justice and accountability for human rights violations and abuses in Iran. We will continue to find ways to support the people of Iran as they peacefully protest in defense of their human rights and fundamental freedoms, and in doing so, will continue to impose costs on individuals and entities in Iran who engage in the brutal repression of the Iranian people.U.S. State Department Press Release