The Trump administration is leveling new economic sanctions against senior Iranian officials and its prison system for widespread human rights abuses, including the systematic torture of those being held in these facilities, according to White House officials familiar with the matter.
The latest sanctions target the Tehran Prisons Organization and Sohrab Suleimani, a senior official in the prison system and the brother of Qassem Soleimani, a senior Iranian military figure responsible for operating Iran’s rogue activities in Syria and elsewhere.
Sohrab Soleimani is responsible for overseeing Iran’s notorious Evin Prison, which is known for torturous interrogations, forced interrogations, and widespread mistreatment of inmates.
This is the significance: The Trump administration is trying to put together a Sunni coaltion to crush ISIS and al-Qaeda. As part of the process, they have to roll back the influence Iran has established in Iraq and Syria. You’ll note that all the public statements by the Trump administration after the attack on Syria blamed Iran as well as Russia for the state of affairs.
This is a change from the Obama administration that seemed to labor under the illusion that “moderate” Iranians were only one election away from taking power in Tehran. Inevitably, this ratcheting up of pressure is going to draw a response from Iran. Most likely venues: US troops fighting ISIS or a provocation against the US Navy in the Persian Gulf. Then we’ll see what happens.