It was perhaps about time for the Obama Administration to announce a new series of anti-Iran sanctions: after all it had been a few weeks since the last round, but today’s sanctions against eight Iranian government officials, including cabinet members, came as something of a surprise.
A surprise because while previous administration sanctions have always been couched it terms of having something or other to do with the nation’s civilian nuclear program (or at least cowing the Iranian govenment into abandoning it), today’s sanctions were said to be about “human rights abuses.”
The sanctions targeted the nation’s current interior minister, its former interior minister, top police and intelligence community officials, and the nation’s chief prosecutor. US officials said the sanctions were to prove their support for the opposition in the wake of last year’s presidential election. In the wake of the election protesters rallied in the streets, clashing with security forces. The US has claimed to have been supporting the protesters all along, though some of the opposition figures have disavowed this.
The sanctions are said to include a travel ban and the seizure of their assets abroad. The real story, however, may be the Obama Administration’s attempt to move their targeting of Iran beyond the typical nuclear canards and into new territory.
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