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Trump targets Iran with new sanctions

The Trump administration on Wednesday levied new financial sanctions against a selection of Iranian organizations, officials, and individuals accused of censorship and human rights abuses against the Iranian public.

Iran "routinely violates the rights of its own people," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement. "The Iranian regime diverts national resources that should belong to the people to fund a massive and expensive censorship apparatus and suppress free speech." The Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) will administer the sanctions.

Among the entities targeted is Ansar-e Hizballah, a quasi-official paramilitary organization, as well as Evin Prison, a tech firm called Hanista Programing Group, and Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), a state-run media outlet. Ansar-e Hizballah "has been involved in the violent suppression of Iranian citizens and has collaborated with the Basij [militias] to violently attack Iranian students with knives, tear gas, and electric batons," the Treasury statement says, while inmates at Evin are subjected to torture. Hanista created messaging apps that facilitated state surveillance of protesters, the sanctions announcement says, and IRIB engaged in censorship and propaganda.