The Biden administration on Monday criticized Iran’s regime for the recent death sentence handed down to a protester while it welcomed the latest sanctions package by the EU and UK against Tehran.
Nationwide anti-government protests have rocked Iran for almost two months now, sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in police custody. More than 300 people have been killed by security forces since the protests began, with thousands of others detained, according to rights groups.
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“We are deeply concerned about reports from Iran of mass arrests, sham trials, and now a death sentence for protesters voicing legitimate demands against a government that systematically denies basic dignity and freedom to its people,” US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said in a statement.
Protesters have been chanting against Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and calling for regime change. “The United States stands staunchly with the Iranian people and their demands,” Sullivan said.
But the US has stopped short of calling for regime change and has been criticized for statements on the protests, specifically from US Special Envoy for Iran Rob Malley.
On Oct. 22, US Special Envoy for Iran Rob Malley said the protesters in Iran had been demonstrating for “respect” from the Iranian regime. He was quickly criticized for the tweet, seen as diminishing the protesters’ demands. Malley promptly apologized and said it was “a mistake.”
In Monday’s statement, Sullivan said human rights abuses by the Iranian regime must not go without consequences.
“The hundreds of protestors already killed at the hands of Iranian state authorities deserve justice,” he said, vowing to continue pursuing accountability for those responsible for human rights abuses.
Sullivan also welcomed the latest sanctions package adopted by the EU and the UK against 29 Iranian individuals and three entities involved in the violent crackdown on protestors.
“The eyes of the world are on Iran,” he said.
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