US Sanctions Iranian Judge Complicit in Christian Persecution
Sanctions Send a Message of Hope to Iran’s Christian Community
12/19/2019 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on December 19, 2019, the United States issued financial sanctions against two Iranian judges complicit in violating the human rights of Iranians. One of these judges, Mohammad Moghisseh, has a long record of specifically violating the rights of Iran’s Christian minority.
“Through their respective branches of Revolutionary Courts, Abolghassem Salavati and Mohammad Moghisseh, both designated today, oversaw the Iranian regime’s miscarriage of justice in show trials in which journalists, attorneys, political activists, and members of Iran’s ethnic and religious minority groups were penalized for exercising their freedom of expression and assembly and sentenced to lengthy prison terms, lashes, and even execution,” said the United States Treasury Department in a statement.
Earlier this year, ICC recommended the name of Judge Mohammad Moghisseh for sanctions, specifically because of his ongoing abuse of Iranian Christians. His record of persecution includes specific patterns of engaging in double jeopardy sentencing and being complicit in the medical abuse of imprisoned Christians. Many of Iran’s incarcerated Christians were sent to prisons which Judge Moghisseh had once helped manage. He rose through the judicial ranks because of his hardline stance in support of the regime’s human rights abuses.
Matias Perttula, ICC’s Advocacy Director, said, “The steps taken by the United States government today are definitely the right way forward, and we celebrate the work of the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control to move forward with sanctions. This decision will bring hope to the people of Iran and especially to those who have suffered under the cruelty of the Iranian regime’s so-called ‘judicial system.’ While the steps taken by the US government are welcomed, more can be done to advance human rights and religious freedom for all Iranians. The US must continue to rally with its allies and maintain consistent pressure on the Iranian regime to bring change. ICC was honored to give voice in this process.”
All property and interests of those designated by today’s sanctions are thereby blocked. Any financial institution that facilitates these judges’ transactions risks exposure to these sanctions and having its own access to the US financial system severed.
Claire Evans, ICC’s Regional Manager for the Middle East, said, “The sanctioning of an Iranian Revolutionary Court judge is a powerful message to send to Iran. It shows that individuals complicit in horrific human rights abuses will be held accountable, and cannot hide behind governmental institutions. For Christians who are always subjected to abuses perpetrated by Iran’s Revolutionary Courts, this sends a strong message of hope. A reminder that they are not forgotten, and that we stand with them in their struggle for freedom of conscience.”