x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Iran considers 'sanctions' against US for 'human rights violations'

'Under this plan, 26 American officials who have a history of human rights violations in the world, including Iraq and Afghanistan, and who support terrorism will be sanctioned.'

TEHRAN // Iran is considering imposing sanctions on United States officials for "human rights violations", in an attempt to turn the tables after years of sanctions imposed by the West.

As European Union foreign ministers added 100 Iranian companies and individuals to a sanctions blacklist yesterday, Iran's parliament was set to debate censuring 26 US officials, the Arman daily newspaper reported.

"Under this plan, 26 American officials who have a history of human rights violations in the world, including Iraq and Afghanistan, and who support terrorism will be sanctioned," politician Kazem Jalali was quoted as saying.

While the new EU sanctions agreed to yesterday are aimed at pressuring Iran to curb its nuclear activities, the measures being discussed in Tehran are a response to a move by the US last year to punish Iranians who, Washington said, were involved in human rights abuses during mass protests in 2009.

Mr Jalali, spokesman of parliament's national security and foreign policy committee, did not name the officials but said if members of Iran's parliament approve the draft, "there will be punitive measures considered for them".

The US has imposed many sanctions on Iran since the 1979 Islamic revolution and the occupation of the US embassy. In recent years, it has secured United Nations Security Council backing for sanctions on Iran's nuclear programme, which Washington says is aimed at making a bomb but which Iran insists is purely peaceful.

Last year, Washington started blacklisting Iranian officials it says were involved in a violent crackdown of protests against the 2009 re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The EU published a similar blacklist in April. Both blacklists impose travel restrictions and asset freezes on the officials named.

Iran rejects accusations from foreign governments and rights groups about its human rights record and denies it used excessive force and repression to crush the post-election protests in 2009.

Tehran says US-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan resulted in massive human rights violations.

The nature of the planned Iranian sanctions was not clear, but it is doubtful financial measure would have much effect, since US officials are unlikely to have assets in the Islamic Republic.