The United States designated on Friday three leaders of Iran-backed militias in Iraq that opened fire on peaceful protests, killing dozens of innocent civilians.

Qais al-Khazali, Laith al-Khazali and Husayn Falih ‘Aziz al-Lami were sanctioned for their role in human-rights abuses in Iraq.

The United States also designated Iraqi millionaire businessman Khamis Farhan al-Khanjar al-Issawi for bribing government officials and engaging in corruption at the expense of the Iraqi people.

“Iran’s attempts to suppress the legitimate demands of the Iraqi people for reform of their government through the slaughter of peaceful demonstrators is appalling,” said U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. “Peaceful public dissent and protest are fundamental elements of all democracies. The United States stands with the Iraqi people in their efforts to root out corruption. We will hold accountable the perpetrators of human-rights abuse and corruption in Iraq.”

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, “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.”

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