The United States has imposed sanctions on nine people with ties to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, including his chief of staff, one of his sons, and the head of Iran’s judiciary, the U.S. Treasury Department said Monday.
The United States also approved the General Staff of The Armed Forces of Iran, the department said in the statement, which comes 40 years after Iran seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, holding more than 50 Americans hostage.
“Today, the Treasury Department is targeting the unelected officials who surround Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, and implement his destabilizing policies,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.
“These individuals are linked to a wide range of malicious behavior by the regime, including bombings at the U.S. Marine Barracks in Beirut in 1983 and the Argentine Israeli Mutual Association in 1994, as well as torture, extrajudicial killings and oppression of civilians,” Mnuchin added.
Separately, the U.S. State Department announced a new reward of up to $20 million for information leading to the location, recovery, and return of Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent last seen in Iran.
“The Trump administration has made it clear that the regime in Iran must release all missing and unjustly detained Americans, including Robert Levinson, Xiyue Wang, Siamak Namazi, and others. We will not rest until they are reunited with their families,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement referring to U.S. citizens imprisoned in Iran after being accused of espionage.
The sanctions are intended to impose more limits on Khamenei’s inner circle, a government official said.
“Our action is specifically aimed at further targeting the financial assets of the inner circle of the supreme leader of both military and foreign advisers,” a senior administration official said in an interview with reporters to discuss the sanctions.
Those targeted by U.S. sanctions include Khamenei’s chief of staff, Mohammad Mohammadi Golpayegani, and Vahid Haghanian, who the department says is called “the supreme leader’s right-hand man.”
Ebrahim Raisi, who urged Khamenei to lead Iran’s judiciary in March 2019, and Mojtaba Khamenei, Khamenei’s second son, were also sanctioned, Treasury said.
U.S. sanctions block U.S.-administered properties or interests and prohibit anyone or entities in the United States from handling those sanctioned goods or interests.
Iran’s mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment.