US Sanctions Iranian Commander Over Mahshahr Killings

WASHINGTON—The U.S. State Department said on Saturday it had imposed sanctions on a general of Irans Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps who commanded units blamed for a massacre of protesters in November.

The U.S. State Department has said previously it had received videos of the Revolutionary Guards opening fire without warning on protesters in Mahshahr county in southwest Iran.

On Saturday, it cited multiple media reports and information submitted by the Iranians through its Rewards for Justice tipline that units under Brigadier General Hassan Shahvarpours command killed as many as 148 people when they used armored vehicles to encircle fleeing protesters, firing machine guns into the crowd and setting fire to the marsh in which protesters took cover.

The State Department said it was designating Shahvarpour, a commander in Khuzestan province where Mahshahr is located, under a U.S. law banning officials of foreign governments and their immediate family members for whom there was “credible information on their involvement in gross violations of human rights.”

The announcement comes amid high tensions in Iran with thousands of citizens protesting in the streets, and also between Tehran and Washington after the United States killed Irans most powerful military commander in a drone strike in Iraq and Iran retaliated by launching missile strikes at U.S. targets in Iraq.

The State Department, which has stepped up criticism of Iran over human rights, said the latest move demonstrated Washingtons “continued commitment to the Iranian people to support their demands for accountability from Iranian officials who committed serious human rights abuses against protesters in November.”

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