By Jamie Crawford
The United States sanctioned 17 Iranian individuals and entities for their alleged roles in the Iranian government's human rights abuses and support of terrorism, the Treasury and State departments announced Thursday.
The actions were carried out under the authority of three separate executive orders that had already been put into effect.
In the first set of sanctions, the United States targeted four Iranian individuals and five entities for their roles in censoring or blocking citizen access to the internet and international media - including the jamming of international satellite broadcasts.
Among those targeted is Ali Fazli, deputy commander of the Basij militia, who participated in the brutal crackdown of civilian protestors in the aftermath of the disputed 2009 Iranian presidential election.
Iran's minister of communications and information technology, and a number of other Iranian government officials were targeted as well.
"Today's designations further demonstrate our resolve to put a stop to the Iranian regime's continued efforts to deny the Iranian people access to information and the ability to speak freely," David S. Cohen, Treasury under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in a written statement. "We will continue to expose this repressive behavior, as well as Iran's continued proliferation activities and support to terrorists worldwide."
In addition, Treasury also went after Iranian individuals and entities that allegedly support the terrorism and weapons proliferation activities of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (ICRG), and the groups it supports.
Operatives with the ICRG who support Kata 'ib Hizballah (KH), a U.S.-designated terrorist group, were sanctioned for their work with KH to destabilize the Iraqi government through various violent attacks inside Iraq going back to 2007.
And the National Iranian Oil Company, already designated under previous actions by the Treasury Department, was singled out for its funding and equipping of ICRG's proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
On a conference call with reporters on Thursday, a senior State Department official said the actions were taken pursuant to a sequence of actions and deadlines put forth in existing legislation signed by President Obama earlier this year.