The U.S. Treasury Department said it had imposed sanctions on 17 Iranian individuals and entities related to the government's censorship and its support of terrorism, Bloomberg reported.
The action was part of the U.S. effort to increase pressure on Iran over its nuclear program as well as responding to its human rights abuses and support of terrorism, the Treasury Department said today in a statement.
Today's announcement identified individuals and entities being sanctioned for their involvement in censorship, including attacks on foreign websites, tracking domestic Internet activities by opposition activists, and restricting publications and satellite television.
Those sanctioned include Ali Fazli, deputy commander of the Basij militia, which has launched attacks against websites; Reza Taghipour, minister of communications and information technology, who has been responsible for jamming satellite television and blocking Internet connectivity; and Rasool Jalili, who has been involved in attempting to acquire Internet monitoring equipment, according to the statement.
Esmail Ahmadi Moghaddam, head of the Iranian police since 2005, was designated for his role in directing the monitoring and tracking of Internet activities in Iran, according to the Treasury's statement.
Entities covered include the Center to Investigate Organized Crime, which the U.S. says helps the government censor websites and identify opposition activists, and the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance along with the Press Supervisory Board.
The U.S. also added to the list of individuals and entities designated for support of terrorism and for involvement in proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.