The US on Wednesday imposed sanctions on senior employees of an Iranian state-run media corporation it accused of broadcasting hundreds of forced confessions of detainees in the country, as Washington increases pressure on Iran over the crackdown on protests.
The US Treasury Department in a statement said it imposed sanctions on six senior employees of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, which was designated by Washington in 2013.
The Treasury said the media corporation acts as “a critical tool in the Iranian government’s mass suppression and censorship campaign against its own people.”
The Treasury said the corporation has produced and broadcast interviews of people being forced to confess that their relatives were not killed by Iranian authorities during recent protests but instead died due to accidental, unrelated causes.
“The Iranian government’s systemic reliance on forced confessions illustrates the government’s refusal to speak truth to its citizens and the international community,” the Treasury’s Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Brian Nelson, said in the statement.
“The US remains committed to supporting the Iranian people as they continue their peaceful protests,” he said, adding that Washington would continue to hold the Iranian government accountable for human rights violations and censorship.
Demonstrations following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in police custody on Sept. 16 have become one of the boldest challenges to Iran’s clerical leadership since the 1979 revolution.