The US government has imposed sanctions against two Iranian officials who were instrumental in crushing political protests in 2009.

The sanctions are against Mohamed Reza Naqdi, commander of the Basiji forces of the Revolutionary Guards Corps, and Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi, the Tehran prosecutor general, for significant human rights abuses.

According to a US Treasury Department statement on 23 February, Dolatabadi brought charges including the death penalty against protesters during the 2009 uprising that followed the disputed presidential elections.

The statement says Dolatabadi had charged protesters with muharebeh, enmity against God, which carries the death penalty. The prosecutor’s office has also arrested reformists, human rights activists and members of the media as part of a crackdown on the political opposition. Naqdi is described as being responsible for and complicit with the Basiji’s abuse and deaths of protesters in 2009 and also the recent demonstrations in Tehran.

The sanctions freeze all assets the two men might have in US financial institutions, ban them from travelling to the US and prevent Americans from having financial dealings with them.

Protests broke out in Tehran on 14 February spurred by uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt. At least three protesters were killed. Opposition leaders Mir Hossein Moussavi and Mehdi Karroubi are currently under house arrest for organising the protests. Conservative members of parliament have called for them to be put to death under the charge “corrupt on earth” (MEED 19:2:11).