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This Week in Iran Policy, January 13–17
January 17, 2020

“President Trump and those of us in his national security team are re-establishing deterrence – real deterrence ‒ against the Islamic Republic. In strategic terms, deterrence simply means persuading the other party that the costs of a specific behavior exceed its benefits. It requires credibility; indeed, it depends on it. Your adversary must understand not only do you have the capacity to impose costs but that you are, in fact, willing to do so”

– Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, Speech at Stanford University, January 13, 2020


  • “Secretary Pompeo repeatedly promised that he will hold the Iranian regime accountable for its human rights violations and for its treatment of the Iranian people.”
  • “The United States is listing IRGC Brigadier General Hassan Shahvarpour under section 7031c visa sanctions. General Shahvarpour committed gross violations of human rights against protestors in Mahshahr. He oversaw the massacre of 148 helpless Iranians in the Mahshahr region last November.”
  • “This action today was made possible through the information we received on the tip-line, in addition to other information available to the Department of State. The Iranian people have now sent us over 88,000 tips through the tip line the Secretary established when the November protests started. We use this information to expose the criminality of the regime and hold people accountable.”
  • “Since the violent crackdown on protests last November, the United States has sanctioned two judges and eight other regime officials for their roles in brutalizing the Iranian people. We are continuing to review all information we receive from the Iranian people and will continue to hold more regime officials responsible for human rights violations.”
  • “Over the past week, many Iranians took to the streets again to protest a corrupt government that lies to them. President Trump recognized their courage with his tweets in Farsi this past week standing with the Iranian people. We call on all nations to join our lead, particularly by sanctioning Iranian officials for human rights violations.”
  • “The sanctions we have imposed are the toughest ever, they are making an enormous difference, and the Iranian people are rightly blaming their own government for 40 years of corruption, mismanagement, and kleptocracy.”
  • “Today the question people are asking is whether the regime has the competence to avoid a banking disaster and hyperinflation. The economy this year could contract by 14 percent.”


  • An individual designated under Section 7031(c), as well as their immediate family members, is ineligible for entry into the United States.
  • Various open-source media, along with statements by Iranian officials and information submitted by the Iranian people to the Rewards for Justice tip-line present a consistent timeline and scope of the killings in Mahshahr. They also indicate that the excessive use of force against protestors was perpetrated, at least in part, by Khuzestan Province’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards.
  • By nature of his position, Shahravar likely had knowledge of the operation to suppress the protests and the subsequent gross violations of human rights that were committed by his subordinates. Shahvarpour failed to prevent or stop his subordinates from committing the killings that took place in Mahshahr.
  • There is no information indicating that Shahvarpour initiated an investigation into these gross violations of human rights.
  • In light of these circumstances, the United States is placing a visa sanction on Khuzestan Province’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Vali Asr Commander Brigadier General Hassan Shahvarpour for his involvement in the gross violations of human rights against protestors during the November protests in Mahshahr.
  • This U.S. action is taken pursuant to Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2019, which is an ineligibility for entry into the United States of officials of foreign governments and their immediate family members for whom the Secretary of State has credible information on their involvement in gross violations of human rights.
  • It demonstrates the United States’ continued commitment to the Iranian people in supporting their demands for accountability from Iranian officials who committed serious human rights abuses against protestors in November 2019.


@realDonaldTrump Jan 17

The noble people of Iran—who love America—deserve a government that’s more interested in helping them achieve their dreams than killing them for demanding respect. Instead of leading Iran toward ruin, its leaders should abandon terror and Make Iran Great Again!

@statedeptspox Jan 17

Congratulations to Iranian-American and new NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli! In 1979, her parents fled Iran. Today, she aims for the stars and may become the first woman to go to the moon. Her success shows what women can do without the constraints of an oppressive regime.

@statedeptspox Jan 16

We commend the government of #Albania’s decision to expel two of #Iran’s so-called diplomats. The Iranian regime continues to use its diplomatic facilities in Europe and elsewhere as cover to plot terrorist attacks, as well as to threaten and spy on Iranians living abroad.

@SecPompeo Jan 16

The Iranian regime consistently lies to the Iranian people and treats them with contempt. Now it is barring thousands of candidates from running for parliament in a massively, publicly rigged election. Even #Iran’s president says this isn’t a real election.

@SecPompeo Jan 13

We don’t know how the Iranian regime will react as we continue to re-build deterrence. We hope they’ll make the right choice and return to the negotiating table. We hope they share our desire for peace. But no matter what, we will put the security of the American people first.

@realDonaldTrump Jan 11

To the brave, long-suffering people of Iran: I’ve stood with you since the beginning of my Presidency, and my Administration will continue to stand with you. We are following your protests closely, and are inspired by your courage.