U.S. threatens to sanction Iran for crackdown on protests

The U.S. has abundant means to hold Iran accountable for any violence against demonstrators, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said.

“We have ample authorities to hold accountable those who commit violence against protesters, contribute to censorship, or steal from the people of Iran.

“To the regime’s victims, we say: You will not be forgotten,” Nauert said in a statement.

The U. S. supports the legitimate aspirations of the Iranian people, Nauert added, and calls on the Tehran government to allow for the free exchange of ideas and information.

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms the deaths to date and the arrests of at least one thousand Iranians,” the spokesperson said.

On Tuesday, Washington said it was considering the imposition of sanctions on Tehran in response to the Iranian authorities’ actions.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Wednesday condemned the United States and Israel for voicing support for the protesters.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told Sputnik on Thursday that convening an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council, as requested by the U. S., over the protests in Iran would be harmful and destructive.

Since Dec. 28, Iran has faced its largest popular protests in nearly a decade.

The demonstrations started in response to a surge in fuel and food prices and high rates of unemployment, inflation and air pollution.

No fewer than 20 people have reportedly been killed so far, and 450 people have been detained.

About 42,000 Iranians have participated in the rallies across the country, Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli said Thursday as quoted by the ISNA news agency.


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