Washington: Tightening its noose around Iran, the United States has announced a set of targeted sanctions against 17 Iranian individuals and entities related to the country`s alleged human rights violations.
Within days of its re-election, the Obama Administration has rolled out three set of targeted sanctions against Iran.
"Today`s (Thursday) 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," said Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen.
The first being targeting a range of actors, five entities, including Iranian government entities, and four individuals, including government officials, who are responsible for serious human rights abuses in Iran, particularly those related to disrupting the Iranian people`s freedom to assemble, freedom to access information and freedom to speak.
At the same time, the Obama Administration is providing a report to the Congress on a strategy to promote internet freedom in Iran, a senior Treasury official told reporters during a conference call.
The latest American action coincide with amendments to the Iranian Financial Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR Part 561, which further strengthen financial sanctions against the Iranian government and fulfil a number of requirements set forth in the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012 (TRA), which was signed into law by the President on August 10, 2012.
The Obama Administration has designated the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), which US officials said is an agent or affiliate of Iran`s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).The United States has also named other IRGC companies as
well as two academic institutions that have been established by and controlled by IRGC commanders and have served as centres for IRGC support, technological and otherwise. "So those are the three lines of targeted designation action," the officials said.
Further an amendment published in the Federal Register to Treasury`s Iranian financial sanctions regulations tightens the screws with respect to US-Iran sanctions by exposing foreign institutions that do business with any entities that the US has sanctioned with respect to Iran`s pursuit of weapons of mass destruction or its sponsorship of terrorism.
Talking to reporters during a conference call, a senior State Department official said that yesterday a number of sanctions go into effect, and a number of actions are called for. Sanctions went into effect on those transporting crude oil from Iran to non accepted countries.
"We are devoting the resources necessary to try to track that. Sanctions go into effect for concealing the origin of crude oil from Iran. Certain sanctions go into effect for providing insurance for shipping that kind of oil," the official said.
"We will continue to expose this repressive behaviour, as well as Iran’s continued proliferation activities and support to terrorists worldwide," Cohen added.
Among those slapped with sanctions include Ali Fazli, the Deputy Commander of the Basij militia, which has launched attacks against websites, including those of foreign news outlets, in an effort to suppress the Iranian people’s access to information; Reza Taghipour, the minister of Communications and Information Technology; Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, and Imam Hossein University (IHU).
The IHU is being designated because it is owned or controlled by the IRGC and for providing, or attempting to provide technological, or other support for and services in support of the IRGC, the Treasury said. The IHU was established by IRGC Commander Mohsen Reza’i in 1986. Mohsen Reza’i served as the commander of the IRGC between 1981-1997.