(Adds Biden comments)
WASHINGTON, Oct 3 (Reuters) – The United States this week will impose further costs on Iranian officials responsible for violence against demonstrators who protested against Iran’s government after the death of Mahsa Amini, President Joe Biden said on Monday.
Amini, a 22-year-old from Iranian Kurdistan, was arrested on Sept. 13 in Tehran for “unsuitable attire” by the morality police and died in custody.
Within hours of her funeral in the Kurdish town of Saqez on Sept. 17, thousands of Iranians poured into the streets across the country. Security forces, including the police and the volunteer Basij militia, have cracked down on the protests. Rights groups put the death toll at over 130.
In a statement, Biden said he was “gravely concerned about reports of the intensifying violent crackdown on peaceful protesters in Iran” and vowed a swift response.
“This week, the United States will be imposing further costs on perpetrators of violence against peaceful protesters. We will continue holding Iranian officials accountable and supporting the rights of Iranians to protest freely,” Biden said.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters that university students in Iran are “rightly enraged” by Amini’s death and that the weekend crackdowns are the type of events that prompt young people in Iran to leave the country “and seek dignity and opportunity elsewhere .”
She gave no indication that the crackdown would have an impact on US diplomacy to resurrect the Iran nuclear deal, which then President Donald Trump abandoned in 2018. (Reporting by Kanishka Singh, Costas Pitas and Steve Holland; Editing by Tim Ahmann and Grant McCool)