The Biden administration imposed sanctions on Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, according to the US Treasury Department.
“Today’s action targets Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for enabling the wrongful detention of our citizens, causing immeasurable pain and suffering for both the victims and their families,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson. “We remain strongly committed to the victims and their families, and are resolute in our efforts to hold accountable those who perpetrate these acts.”
This is the second set of sanctions imposed under an executive order signed by President Joe Biden that seeks to punish organizations or criminals responsible for holding Americans captive.
That executive order draws heavily from an existing law — the Robert Levinson Hostage Recovery and Hostage-Taking Accountability Act — which laid out the criteria for who is considered wrongfully detained, expanded the tools to help free those US detainees and hostages, authorized sanctions and was meant to foster increased engagement with families.
That law was named in honor of Robert Levinson, an American detained in Iran for decades and who is believed to have died there.
“We'll never give up on Bob Levinson's case,” one senior administration official said.