U.S. Department of State discusses This Week in Iran Policy, December 2-6 | site |



(December 6, 2019) - - Today, the U.S. Department of State's Office of the Spokesperson provided the following information concerning This Week in Iran Policy, December 2-6:


“Our role…is to support freedom wherever we are able to do so, to create transparency so that the world can see. In Iran, the reporting indicates that there are several hundred people who have been killed by the security forces, thousands detained inside of Iran, and to stand up and say that’s not right, these people are simply asking for a basic set of freedoms, and the Iranian leadership – that regime should change in a way that reflects the desires of their own people.”


– Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, Speech to the University of Louisville, December 2










SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE BRIAN HOOK ANNOUNCES TWO IRANIAN PRISON ENTITIES ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR GROSS VIOLATIONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS
  • “Many thousands of Iranians have been wounded, and at least 7,000 protesters have been detained in Iran’s prisons. Many of these protesters have been sent to two prisons, the Great Tehran Penitentiary and Qarchak Prison.”
  • “The Great Tehran Penitentiary is known for its inhumane living conditions, which consist of unsanitary and crowded corridors, rodent infestations, insufficient food, water, and medical care. We have seen reports that protesters have been subject to abuse and mistreatment during interrogations, arbitrary beatings, and rape. Qarchak Prison is Iran’s largest women’s prison, and also holds many members of religious minority communities. It too is known for unbearable conditions, including regular assaults and inappropriate behavior of prison guards towards women, chronic lack of water, unsanitary living spaces, and an environment that enables rape and murder.”
  • “The United States calls for the immediate release of all protesters detained in prison, as well as all the political prisoners currently held by the regime.”
  • “Now is the time for all nations to stand with the Iranian people, diplomatically isolate the regime, and sanction those officials who are responsible for murdering innocent Iranians.”
– Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook, Special Briefing, December 5












SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE BRIAN HOOK REMARKS IN RESPONSE TO INTERDICTED IRANIAN WEAPONS HEADED FOR YEMEN
  • “On November 25th, a U.S. warship conducted a flag verification boarding in international waters off the coast of Yemen. We interdicted a significant hoard of weapons and missile parts, evidently of Iranian origin. As you can see from the images behind me, the seizure includes sophisticated weapons, sophisticated components of anti-ship cruise missiles, land attack cruise missiles, air defense missiles, and anti-tank missiles. The vessel reportedly was heading to Yemen to deliver these weapons. The weapon components comprise the most sophisticated weapons seized by the U.S. Navy to date during the Yemen conflict. I want to congratulate the U.S. Armed Forces and the U.S. Coast Guard for this important interdiction.”
  • “This discovery is yet more proof of Iran’s efforts to inflame conflicts in the region by proliferating deadly weapons to its proxies. It is also further evidence of how Iran repeatedly violates the UN arms embargo which has been in place for over a decade.”
  • “We should recall that the Houthis proposed a cessation of missile and air attacks with Saudi Arabia just days after the Iranians struck Saudi oil installations on September 14th. The Houthis’ de-escalation proposal, which the Saudis are responding to, shows that Iran clearly does not speak for the Houthis, nor have the best interests of the Yemeni people at heart. Iran is trying to prolong Yemen’s civil war to project power. Iran should follow the calls of its own people and end its involvement in Yemen. The Yemeni people have suffered far too long, and Iran has no legitimate interests in Yemen.”
– Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook, Special Briefing, December 5












SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE BRIAN HOOK ANNOUNCES REWARD FOR YEMEN-BASED IRGC QODS FORCE COMMANDER ABDUL REZA SHAHLA’I
  • “I am announcing today that the State Department’s Rewards for Justice program is offering up to $15 million for information on the financial activities, networks, and associates of Abdul Reza Shahla’i. He is a Yemen-based high-ranking commander of the IRGC’s Qods Force. This is a part of the Rewards for Justice program for information leading to the disruption of IRGC operations.”
  • “Shahla’i has a long history of attacks against Americans and our allies globally. He planned multiple assassinations of coalition forces in Iraq, provided weapons and explosives to violent Shia extremist groups, and planned the January 20th, 2007 attack in Karbala that killed five American soldiers and wounded three others. In 2011, Shahla’i funded and directed a plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States, Adel al-Jubeir. This would have been carried out in a restaurant in Georgetown. Shahla’i also aimed to carry out follow-on attacks in the United States and elsewhere. Had this scheme succeeded, as many as 200 innocent civilians in the United States could have been killed.”
  • “Given Shahla’i’s track record of terrorism and destabilization in Iraq, we remain gravely concerned by his presence in Yemen and potential role in providing advanced weaponry of the kind that we have interdicted to the Houthis. Iranian UAVs, missiles, and explosive boats have been used by the Houthis to threaten key civilian and economic interests and otherwise wreak havoc in the region. This designation, together with the recent interdiction in Yemen, underscores our commitment to deny Iran the means to run an expansionist foreign policy. We call on the international community to join us in holding Iran accountable for its acts of terror both against the nations of the world and against the Iranian people.”
– Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook, Special Briefing, December 5











TREASURY SANCTIONS IRAN-BACKED MILITIA LEADERS WHO KILLED INNOCENT DEMONSTRATORS IN IRAQ


“Iran’s attempts to suppress the legitimate demands of the Iraqi people for reform of their government through the slaughter of peaceful demonstrators is appalling… Peaceful public dissent and protest are fundamental elements of all democracies. The United States stands with the Iraqi people in their efforts to root out corruption. We will hold accountable the perpetrators of human rights abuse and corruption in Iraq.”

Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin, press statement, December 6

  • The United States recently expressed its commitment to using its legal authorities to sanction corrupt individuals stealing the Iraqi people’s public wealth and killing and wounding peaceful protesters. We are honoring that pledge by sanctioning four Iraqis implicated in serious human rights abuses and corruption.
  • The Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Iranian-backed militia leaders Qais al-Khazali, Laith al-Khazali, and Husayn Falih ‘Aziz al-Lami, pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13818, for their involvement in serious human rights abuses in Iraq. Additionally, OFAC designated Iraqi politician Khamis Farhan al-Khanjar al-Issawi for bribing government officials and for widespread corruption at the expense of the Iraqi people.




ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR NEAR EASTERN AFFAIRS DAVID SCHENKER ISSUES STATEMENT IN RESPONSE TO IRANIAN INFLUENCE IN IRAQ
  • Iraqis increasingly view Iran as having coopted and exploited Iraq’s political system, its economy, and its security at the expense of the Iraqi people, and this has clearly made Iran nervous, so nervous that, once again, Qods Force commander and the Iranian regime’s chief shadow diplomat is once again in Baghdad interfering in Iraqi politics.
  • We must acknowledge and respect the fact that what is occurring in Iraq is indigenous to Iraq and reflects its citizens’ needs and desires. Those needs deserve to be addressed without resort to violence or suppression.
  • As Iraqi leaders consider options over the coming days to address the current crisis, their foremost consideration should be meeting the needs of the Iraqi people and rejecting and – the distorting influence Iran has exerted on the political process.
– Assistant Secretary David Schenker, Special Briefing, December 2