The US Vice President Mike Pence has confirmed that new sanctions have been imposed by the US on two Iranian-backed Iraqi militia leaders and two Iraqi former provincial governors, with all four Iraqis’ accused of human rights abuses and corruption, Reuters reported Thursday July 18th.
Pence was speaking at the second session of the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, in Washington.
Earlier, Pence stressed that the U S will not stand idly by while Iranian-backed militias spread terror. And later on, those under sanctions were identified as militia leaders Rayan al-Kildani and Waad Qado, and former governors Nawfal Hammadi al-Sultan and Ahmed al-Jubouri, the Treasury said in a statement, according to Reuters.
And in a statement the Treasury Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Sigal Mandelker, explained that the US would continue to hold accountable people associated with serious human rights abuses, including persecution of religious minorities, and corrupt officials who exploited their positions of public trust to line their pockets, and hoard power at the expense of their citizens, according to Reuters.
She added that the actions which prompted the sanctions occurred in "areas where persecuted religious communities are struggling to recover from the horrors inflicted on them" by Isis, the terrorist militant group that controlled parts of Iraq for several years.
A statement by the Treasury indicated that Kildani and Qado have been leaders of the 50th Brigade and the 30th Brigade militia consecutively, and they have been involved in crimes related to extortion, kidnappings and mayhem.
On the other hand, Sultan and Jubouri were designated for being engaged in corruption, including the misappropriation of state assets, and other misdeeds, the Treasury said.
The sanctions include confiscating any property the four hold in the U S, which would be blocked, and US citizens are barred from business dealings with them, Reuters reported.
In a statement given earlier this year, by the founding Director of the State Department’s Office of International Religious Freedom, Thomas Farr, he praised Secretary Pompeo and Ambassador Sam Brownback for supporting US’s commitment to make international religious freedom more visible, durable, and effective, and bringing this Ministerial to life, according to the Religious Freedom Institute.com.