Iran slams 'illegal' US sanctions on brother of commander

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani delivering a speech after registering to run for re-election at the interior ministry in the capital Tehran, on April 14, 2017.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani delivering a speech after registering to run for re-election at the interior ministry in the capital Tehran, on April 14, 2017.PHOTO: AFP

TEHERAN • Iran has protested against new American sanctions imposed on the brother of the high-profile commander of the Revolutionary Guards' foreign operations arm, Major General Qassem Soleimani, decrying the move as "illegal".

The US Treasury on Thursday added Mr Sohrab Soleimani, along with the Teheran Prisons Organisation, which he recently oversaw, to its list of individuals and entities facing sanctions for alleged human rights violations.

"The United States government, with its failed domestic and international record, is not in a position to comment or act on the human rights situation in other countries," foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi said yesterday.

Mr Sohrab is the younger brother of Maj-Gen Qassem, who oversees Iranian operations in Iraq and Syria and has been pictured visiting Iranian-led forces in both countries. The elder brother is already subject to US sanctions.

Meanwhile, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani registered yesterday to run for a second four-year term in the May presidential election, state TV reported. Over 860 people have signed up so far for the May 19 vote. Several former ministers and former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a hardliner, are among those who have registered.

Mr Rouhani, a politically moderate cleric, inherited an economy in freefall and a country dangerously isolated over its nuclear programme when he took power in 2013. He retains the support of moderate and reformist lawmakers for taming inflation and reaching a landmark nuclear deal with world powers that ended many sanctions. But disappointment with his administration is palpable on the streets of Iran, with unemployment stuck at 12 per cent.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 15, 2017, with the headline 'Iran slams 'illegal' US sanctions on brother of commander'. Print Edition | Subscribe