US sanctions Iran's judiciary chief over human rights abuses
Washington slapped sanctions on a total of 14 individuals and entities, including Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani, for violating human rights and supporting Iranian weapons programmes.
Larijani, a close ally of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is "responsible for ordering, controlling, or otherwise directing, the commission of serious human rights abuses against persons in Iran or Iranian citizens or residents," the US Treasury Department said in a statement.
"The United States will not stand by while the Iranian regime continues to engage in human rights abuses and injustice," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.
"We are targeting the Iranian regime, including the head of Iran's judiciary, for its appalling mistreatment of its citizens, including those imprisoned solely for exercising their right to freedom of peaceful assembly, and for censoring its own people as they stand up in protest against their government."
"We are also targeting Iran's ballistic missile program and destabilising activities, which it continues to prioritise over the economic well-being of the Iranian people."
Rajaee Shahr Prison was also sanctioned, and its director Gholamreza Ziaei, over allegations it has denied prisoners adequate medical care and access to legal representation as well as reported incidents of sexual abuse and unlawful executions.
Many Iranians who recently protested against their government are imprisoned at Rajaee Shahr, the statement said.
A Chinese national was sanctioned for acting on behalf of Wuhan Sanjiang Import and Export Co LTD, which is already under sanctions for doing business with an Iranian firm "owned or controlled" by the military.
Other sanctioned firms included another China-based company, Bochuang Ceramic Corp, and the Iranian firm it sought to supply with a chemical compound used in the transmission of electrical signals.
Agencies contributed to this report.