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Washington slaps sanctions on 5 Iranian officials ‘for barring candidates’

Washington slaps sanctions on 5 Iranian officials ‘for barring candidates’

The United States on Thursday slapped sanctions on five Iranian officials in charge of vetting candidates for this week’s parliamentary elections. Campaigning for the elections officially ended on Thursday.

The targeted officials include Ahmad Jannati, a powerful cleric accused of overseeing the disqualification of candidates as part of the Guardian Council. He also plays a key role in a body that selects the supreme leader, AFP reports.

“The Trump administration will not tolerate the manipulation of elections,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement. He added that the action exposes senior officials “responsible for preventing the Iranian people from freely choosing their leaders.”

The sanctions freeze any US-held assets of the officials, and generally bar Americans from doing business with them.