The United States has imposed sanctions on two former provincial Iraqi governors and two militia leaders for human rights abuses and corruption.
The U.S. Treasury Department said in a statement on July 18 that Ahmed al-Juburi, the former governor of Iraq's Salaheddin Orovince, and Nawfal Hammadi al-Sultan, the former governor of Niniveh Province, were designated for being engaged in corruption, including the misappropriation of state assets, and other misdeeds, the Treasury said.
Juburi has also "been known to protect his personal interests by accommodating Iran-backed proxies," the statement said.
The two militia leaders, Rayan al-Kildani and Waad Qado -- one of whom is Christian and the other a member of the Shabak minority -- were both sanctioned over "serious human rights abuses" by them or their organizations.
The Treasury said Kildani is the leader of the 50th Brigade militia and is shown cutting off the ear of a handcuffed detainee in a video circulated in Iraq last year.
Vice President Mike Pence said the United States was imposing sanctions on the leaders of two Iranian-linked militia groups in Iraq, but the Treasury statement made no mention of the commanders being tied to Iran.
"Let me be clear, the United States will not stand idly while Iranian-backed militias spread terror," Pence told a meeting on religious freedom in Washington.