US Sanctions Target Russia’s FSB, Iran’s IRGC for Detaining Americans

The move is symbolic as both organizations are already under sanctions

The US on Thursday imposed sanctions on the Russian intelligence agency FSB and the intelligence wing of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) over allegations that they’re involved in the detainment of Americans.

The sanctions also targeted four Iranian IRGC intelligence officials. The move is symbolic as both the FSB and IRGC are already under sanctions. The Trump administration designated the IRGC as a “foreign terrorist organization” in 2019, which blacklisted anyone who has ever been a member of the military organization.

The sanctions on the FSB are seen as the Biden administration’s retaliation for Russia’s detainment of a reporter for The Wall Street Journal, Evan Gershkovich, who was arrested over allegations of spying.

“Today, the Department of State and the Department of the Treasury have announced the US Government’s first-ever sanctions against actors for engaging in the wrongful detention of Americans,” President Biden said in a statement on the sanctions.

“Today — and every day — our message to Russia, Iran, and the world is holding hostage or wrongfully detaining Americans is unacceptable. Release them immediately,” the president added.

According to The New York Times, Biden administration officials acknowledged that the sanctions were “designed primarily as a way to send a message of disapproval to Russia and Iran” and won’t have much impact.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.