Unlike the Obama Administration, the Trump Administration is boldly standing up for human rights in Iran. On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of the Treasury blacklisted an Iranian firm that created an App that secretly monitors dissidents who oppose the Iranian theocratic and despotic government, as well as two other entities working on behalf of the Iranian government.
The Treasury Department stated:
Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated two Iranian entities for committing serious human rights abuses on behalf of the Government of Iran, as well as three leaders of one of these entities, the Ansar-e Hizballah organization. Additionally, OFAC designated an entity that has operated information or communications technology that facilitates monitoring or tracking that could assist or enable serious human rights abuses by or on behalf of the Government of Iran. Finally, OFAC designated two individuals for engaging in censorship activities that prohibit, limit, or penalize the exercise of freedom of expression or assembly by citizens of Iran, and one individual for acting for or on behalf of an entity engaged in such censorship activities. These designations come in the wake of recent protests by the Iranian people and the regime’s subsequent brutal crackdown.
Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said bluntly, “Iran not only exports terrorism and instability across the world, it routinely violates the rights of its own people. The Iranian regime diverts national resources that should belong to the people to fund a massive and expensive censorship apparatus and suppress free speech. Those who speak out against the regime’s mismanagement and corruption are subject to abuse and mistreatment in Iran’s prisons. America stands with the people of Iran, and Treasury is taking action to hold the Iranian regime accountable for ongoing human rights abuses, censorship, and other despicable acts it commits against its own citizens.”
OFAC targeted Ansar-e Hizballah, which as the Treasury Department noted,"‘has been involved in the violent suppression of Iranian citizens and has collaborated with the Basij to violently attack Iranian students with knives, tear gas, and electric batons. The Basij Resistance Force was designated pursuant to E.O. 13553 on June 9, 2011 for committing serious human rights abuses in Iran. An organization supported by the Iranian regime that harasses and attacks the Iranian people, Ansar-e Hizballah has been linked to acid attacks against women in the city of Isfahan. Multiple women who were not dressed in accordance with the regime’s standards had acid thrown at them, severely injuring them and creating a climate of fear.”
OFAC also targeted Evin Prison, noting, “Prisoners held at Evin Prison are subject to brutal tactics inflicted by prison authorities, including sexual assaults, physical assaults, and electric shock. Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) maintain permanent wards in Evin Prison where they hold political prisoners. “
As for the Hanista Programing Group, the Treasury Department pointed out, “Hanista Programing Group is responsible for creating and distributing alternative versions of the popular messaging and social media application Telegram that facilitate the Iranian regime’s monitoring and tracking of Iranian and international users. Hanista Programing Group developed two social media applications called Mobogram and MoboPlus and embedded malicious content in them that facilitates the monitoring and tracking of Iranian citizens. This monitoring and tracking functionality could assist or enable serious human rights abuses by the Government of Iran, including the IRGC and MOIS.”
All three entities, Ansar-e Hizballah, Evin Prison, and Hanista, were listed by the Treasury Department as “working on behalf of the Government of Iran.”