On September 22, 2022, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control designated Iran’s Morality Police, a component of Iran’s Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) responsible for enforcing law against immodesty and societal vices in Iran. The LEF was previously designated by OFAC in 2011 pursuant to Executive Order 13553 for its role in the post-election suppression of nationwide protests disputing the Iranian presidential election in 2009. According to OFAC, Iran’s Morality Police was designated for abuse and violence against Iranian women and for suppressing the rights of peaceful protestors in Iran following the recent death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who was recently arrested and detained for allegedly wearing a hijab improperly.
OFAC also designated seven Iranian senior security services officials, including the two officials who served as the head of Morality Police and the head of the Tehran division of the Morality Police at the time of Amini’s unjust detention and death. Other designees include the head of Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS), Esmail Khatib, who was recently designated by OFAC on September 9, 2022 pursuant to US cybersecurity authorities, and the heads of the Army’s Ground Forces, Basij Resistance Forces, and the LEF – all organizations that, according to OFAC, routinely use violence and suppress peaceful protestors in the Iranian community. The designations were made pursuant to EO 13553, which targets certain persons responsible for serious human rights abuses by the Government of Iran.
As a result of these designations, all property and interests in property of today’s designees within the United States or within the possession or control of a U.S. person are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions involving the designated persons. In addition, entities owned 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked, and any foreign financial institution that knowingly conducts or facilitates a significant transaction for, or on behalf of, a blocked person could be subject to US correspondent or payable-through account sanctions.