US slaps sanctions on Iranian officials over detained woman's death

The administration of US President Joe Biden says it has imposed sanctions on Iranian police and security officials over the death of a woman who was detained for wearing her headscarf, or hijab, "improperly."

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken released a statement on Thursday.

It says the United States sanctioned seven officials for alleged human rights abuses. The penalties include freezing of assets.

Blinken said, "The Iranian government needs to end its systematic persecution of women and allow peaceful protest."

He added that Washington will continue to hold those who violate human rights accountable.

Twenty-two-year-old Mahsa Amini died last Friday after she was taken in custody in Tehran. Her death has sparked protests across the country.

Demonstrations continued on Thursday. Iran's state-run television reported that 17 people had died in clashes between demonstrators and security forces.

The country's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, in charge of security, issued a statement. It says the forces called on judicial authorities to identify and deal with people who disturb the peace.