US State Department sanctions top IRGC general for crackdown on protesters

US Department of State imposed sanctions on Friday on a leading Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps general following Iran’s crackdown on protesters, US Special Representative on Iran Brian Hook said. (Screenshot)
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Updated 17 January 2020

US State Department sanctions top IRGC general for crackdown on protesters

  • Hook praised the UK and its decision to classify Lebanon's Hezbollah as terrorist group
  • Hook also said that US sanctions were working

WASHINGTON: The US Department of State imposed sanctions on Friday on a leading Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps general following Iran’s crackdown on protesters, US Special Representative on Iran Brian Hook said.

“The United States is listing IRGC Brig. Gen. Hassan Shavapor under Section 7031c, visa sanctions,” Hook told reporters.

“General Shavapor committed gross violations of human rights against protesters at the press briefing. He oversaw the massacre of 148 helpless Iranians in the Mashar region last November,” he said.

Hook added that the designation was the result of photographic and video tips submitted to the department by Iranians.

The department has received more than 88,000 such tips since it appealed for Iranians to report evidence of repression and gross human rights abuses, Hook said.

Iran has denied US allegations of widespread repression but has acknowledged confronting separatists in Mahshahr that it said were armed.

Hook's press statement came after Iran’s top leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made comments about the day Tehran hit US bases in Iraq with missiles in response to the killing of the country’s top military commander Qassem Soleimani, calling it “a day of God.”

He also said that the killing of Soleimani was a “disgrace” to the American administration and that the attack showed the “terrorist nature” of Washington.

In response, Hook said: “The more Iran threatens the world, the more isolated it will become.”

Hook also said that US sanctions were working, citing Iran's president Hassan Rouhani admitting financial losses due to the sanctions and pointing toward Iran's "major banking crisis." 

He added: "We have succeeded in making the Iranian regime and whoever helps it pay a heavy price."

Also on Friday, Hook praised the UK and its decision to classify Lebanon's Hezbollah movement as a terrorist group.


Tunisia government given special powers to handle coronavirus crisis

Updated 59 min 28 sec ago

Tunisia government given special powers to handle coronavirus crisis

  • The decision will allow Fakhfakh’s government to issue decrees, strike purchasing agreements and seek finance without consulting parliament
  • Tunisia has 495 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, including 18 deaths, and has imposed a national lockdown until April 19 to slow its spread

TUNIS: Tunisia’s parliament on Saturday ceded some powers to the North African country’s government for two months to help it handle the coronavirus crisis and the expected economic fallout.
The decision, backed by all political parties, will allow Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh’s government to issue decrees, strike purchasing agreements and seek finance without consulting parliament.
Tunisia has 495 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, including 18 deaths, and has imposed a national lockdown until April 19 to slow its spread.
Fakhfakh, who was confirmed as prime minister on Feb. 28 after months of wrangling between rival parties to form a government, said the move was a “necessary weapon” to allow fast decisions to tackle the crisis.
His government has announced a financial package that includes aid for the poor as well as tax and loan repayment holidays. Fakhfakh has said the government may impose exceptional taxes on companies to cover this if the government cannot find the money elsewhere.
Tunisia, which embraced democracy after a 2011 uprising to overthrow veteran autocrat Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, has struggled to develop its economy over the past decade.
An International Monetary Fund loan program expires this month and Finance minister Nizar Yaich told Reuters in March the government had started negotiations with IMF on a new agreement.