US hits Iran with more sanctions over Mahsa Amini death

By FATIMA HUSSEIN | Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The U.S. on Thursday imposed more sanctions on Iranian government officials in response to the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, as protests have embroiled dozens of Iranian cities for weeks and evolved into the most widespread challenge to Iran’s leadership in years.

U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control designated seven high-ranking leaders for financial penalties due to the shutdown of Iran’s internet access, repression of speech and violence inflicted on protesters and civilians. Iran’s interior and communications ministers and several law enforcement leaders were targeted for sanctions.

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Amini was detained in September by the morality police, who said she didn’t properly cover her hair with the mandatory Islamic headscarf, known as the hijab. She collapsed at a police station and died three days later.

Her death set off protests in dozens of cities across the country and the government has responded with a fierce crackdown. Authorities have detained at least 35 reporters and photographers since the demonstrations began Sept. 17, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.