Iran accuses US, Europe of politicizing International Women’s Day

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Iran on Thursday accused Western nations of politicizing International Women’s Day, after the US and Britain imposed sanctions on Tehran over human rights abuses against women and girls to mark the occasion.

International Women’s Day “has become the subject of political abuse by the Western authorities,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani wrote on Twitter.

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He added that “the US and several other arrogant European countries have a dark record of violating the fundamental rights of human beings and women in their societies and other parts of the world and are not at all in a position” to lecture others.

On Wednesday, the US Treasury Department said it imposed sanctions on two Iranian prison officials it accused of being responsible for serious human rights abuses against women and girls.

“The United States, along with our partners and allies, stand with the women of Iran, who advocate for fundamental freedoms in the face of a brutal regime that treats women as second-class citizens and attempts to suppress their voices by any means,” US Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson said.

“We will continue to take action against the regime, which perpetuates abuse and violence against its own citizens - especially women and girls,” Nelson added.

The Treasury said it acted together with the European Union, Britain and Australia to mark International Women’s Day.

Britain also announced new sanctions on Wednesday targeting gender-based violence in several countries, including Iran.

The sanctions on Iran targeted an Iranian government institution and its head official for having been “responsible for the enforcement of mandatory dress codes for women with unreasonable force.”

Iran has been hit by several rounds of sanctions by Western powers over its crackdown on months-long protests that erupted in September following the death in police custody of 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini.

Amini died on September 16 after her arrest by the morality police in Tehran for allegedly breaching the country’s strict dress rules for women. Her death triggered months of protests that quickly escalated into calls for the overthrow of the Islamic Republic.

The protests were met with a violent crackdown from authorities, resulting in the deaths of hundreds and the arrest of thousands, according to human rights groups.

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