The State Department announced on Wednesday that it was going to continue to waive sanctions against Iran as part of the nuclear agreement signed under Obama for another 120 days, but is adding some new sanctions on specific Iranians for continued human rights abuses.
The State Department released today its semi-annual report to Congress detailing sanctions imposed on persons involved in human rights abuses in Iran. The report cites recent sanctions against the Tehran Prisons Organization and Sohrab Soleimani, the former head of the Tehran Prisons Organization, as required by the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions Accountability and Divestment Act of 2010, as amended by the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012. Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Ambassador Stuart Jones gave the following statement on the report:
“As we continue to closely scrutinize Iran’s commitment to the JCPOA and develop a comprehensive Iran policy, we will continue to hold Iran accountable for its human rights abuses with new actions. We urge our partners around the world to join us in calling out individuals and entities who violate international sanctions targeting Iran’s human rights abuses.
“Whether it’s imprisoning people arbitrarily, inflicting physical abuse and torture, or executing juvenile offenders, the Iranian regime has for decades committed egregious human rights violations against its own people and foreign nationals, and this pattern of behavior must come to an end. The U.S. and its partners will continue to apply pressure on Iran to protect the human rights and fundamental freedoms for everyone in Iran. This includes the U.S. citizens wrongfully detained or missing in Iran, and we call on Iran to immediately return them to their families.“In addition to the actions taken today, we are communicating to the U.S. Congress that the United States continues to waive sanctions as required to continue implementing U.S. sanctions-lifting commitments in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. This ongoing review does not diminish the United States’ resolve to continue countering Iran’s destabilizing activity in the region, whether it be supporting the Assad regime, backing terrorist organizations like Hezbollah, or supporting violent militias that undermine governments in Iraq and Yemen. And above all, the United States will never allow the regime in Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon.”
You know that really makes me sad and angry? That all our grandiose talk of human rights just comes off as self-serving and hypocritical. When has our own government ever given a damn about human rights abuses? Hell, when did we start caring specifically about human rights abuses by the government of Iran? I can answer that question: As soon as they overthrew our lapdog there in 1978, Shah Reza Pahlevi. Not only did we not care about the horrific atrocities he perpetrated on his own people, we propped him up on a mountain of American aid and weaponry to facilitate those abuses. Pro-American torture and brutality we’re fine with. We only object to anti-American torture and brutality. But if torture and brutality are not anti-American by definition, we are merely being hypocrites.