US sanctions five Iranian officials for obstructing ‘free and fair’ elections

Parliamentary election campaign posters are seen in Tehran, Iran February 19, 2020. Picture taken February 19, 2020. (Reuters)

The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned on Thursday five Iranian members of the Guardian Council, which oversees the parliamentary elections in the country, accusing them of abusing their power of vetting candidates’ eligibility to run and depriving the Iranian nation of a “free and fair” elections.

“The Trump Administration will not tolerate the manipulation of elections to favor the regime’s malign agenda, and this action exposes those senior regime officials responsible for preventing the Iranian people from freely choosing their leaders,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Thursday.

The Treasury sanctioned Ahmad Jannati, Abbas Ali Kadkhodaei, Siamak Rahpeyk, Mohammad Hasan Sadeghi Moghadam and Mohammad Yazdi.

The Guardian Council, which reports directly to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, allowed approximately 7,150 candidates to run out of more than 14,000, according to state TV. Nearly a third of sitting parliamentarians were banned from running again.

Iranians go to the ballot boxes to cast their votes on Friday.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 10:05 - GMT 07:05