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WASHINGTON: The United States on Thursday (April 27) accused Russia’s FSB intelligence services and Iran’s Revolutionary Guard of holding “hostages” of Americans, such as the Wall Street Journal reporter who was arrested in Russia last month. Added new sanctions.

A senior U.S. official said, “The U.S. is showing that it cannot engage in this kind of egregious behavior, using humans as pawns and bargaining chips without paying for the consequences.”

Both agencies have already been subject to punitive action by the US Department of State and Treasury in the past.

But the official said the new sanctions would underline U.S. views on what he described as a growing phenomenon of governments detaining foreigners for political gain.

“The use of people as political pawns and bargaining chips under the false pretense of being held in by the government is a practice that seems to be heading in the wrong direction,” the official said. .

The application of sanctions aims to “promote accountability to the perpetrators and, in so doing, prevent and deter the next chain of events from occurring from the beginning.”

The sanctions come a month after Russia detained Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovic on espionage charges.

The United States is seeking his release, and is seeking the release of former US Marine Paul Whelan, who was arrested in Russia in 2018 and sentenced to prison two years later on espionage charges.

In a prisoner exchange last year, the United States released from Russia basketball star Britney Griner, who was jailed on drug charges, and Trevor Reed, another former Marine jailed for assaulting a Russian police officer. secured.

At least three US citizens have been held in Iranian prisons since 2015, including businessman Siamak Namazi, who is being held in Tehran’s Evin Prison.

Sanctions were announced against Moscow’s FSB, the Federal Security Service, and Iran’s powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps intelligence services.

The US Treasury has also imposed sanctions on four senior IRGC intelligence officials.

“Today’s actions target Iranian and Russian officials and security agencies responsible for holding Americans hostage and illegally detaining them abroad,” Treasury Undersecretary Brian Nelson said in a statement. there is,” he said. US sanctions Russia, Iran for ‘hostage taking’

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