On the eve of Iran's parliamentary elections, the Treasury Department of the United States sanctioned five members of the Guardian Council, including its Chairman Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, for their role in barring candidates from running.
Parliamentary elections are due to be held on Friday.
The Guardian Council is a twelve-member body, with the six key clerical members appointed by the Supreme Leader and is vested with the power to vet candidates in all elections, interpreting the Constitution, and endorsing parliament's legislation.
The influential Council also has six non-clerical, non-voting jurists specialized in different areas of law that are chosen by Parliament.
The Supreme Leader's appointees in the Council "deprive the Iranian people of free and fair elections by blocking candidates that do not mirror his radical views," the U.S. Department of the Treasury said in a press release on Thursday.
“The Trump Administration will not tolerate the manipulation of elections to favor the regime’s malign agenda, and this action exposes those senior regime officials responsible for preventing the Iranian people from freely choosing their leaders,” the press release quoted Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin as saying.
According to the Department of Treasury statement, the five sanctioned individuals include two clerics, namely, Chairman Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati who has been a member of the Council since 1980, as well the former Chief Justice Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi.
The non-clerical, non-voting jurists sanctioned by the Department of Treasury are the Spokesman of the Council Abbas-Ali Kadkhodai, Siyamak Rahpeyk, and Mohammad-Hassan Sadeqi-Moqaddam (Sadeghi-Moghaddam).
All of the five have been subjected to Secondary Sanctions.