The United States recently expressed its commitment to using its legal authorities to sanction corrupt individuals stealing the Iraqi people’s public wealth and killing and wounding peaceful protesters. Today, we are honoring that pledge by sanctioning four Iraqis implicated in serious human rights abuses and corruption. The Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Iranian-backed militia leaders Qais al-Khazali, Laith al-Khazali, and Husayn Falih ‘Aziz al-Lami, pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13818, for their involvement in serious human rights abuse in Iraq. Additionally, OFAC designated Iraqi politician Khamis Farhan al-Khanjar al-Issawi for bribing government officials and for widespread corruption at the expense of the Iraqi people.
The Iraqi people want their country back. They are calling for genuine reform and accountability and for trustworthy leaders who will put Iraq’s national interests first. Those demands deserve to be addressed without resort to violence or suppression. Human rights abuses and corruption undermine the values that are at the foundation of stable, secure, and functioning societies.
As the world prepares to recognize International Anticorruption Day on December 9 and International Human Rights Day on December 10, the United States is doing its part to advance those very same values and to hold to account those who would undermine them through human rights abuses or acts of corruption.