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US Sanctions Iran for Penalizing Freedom of Expression

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With its ongoing commitment to hold Iranian government officials and entities responsible for the abuses carried out against their own citizens, the United States today announced sanctions on four Iranian individuals and five Iranian entities for having engaged in censorship that represses freedom of expression.

In her remarks at Washington DC, Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland reports that Iran's censorship activities include activities that prohibit, limit, or penalize freedom of expression or assembly by citizens of Iran, or that limit access to print or broadcast media, including by jamming international satellite broadcasts into Iran, and related activities.

The actions were taken pursuant to Section 403 of the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012, signed by the President on August 10, 2012, and Executive Order 13628, which the President signed into effect on October 9, 2012, Ms. Nuland said.

The sanctions entail U.S. persons are prohibited from engaging in transactions involving the designated individuals or entities, and all designated individuals and members of designated entities are subject to a ban on travel to the United States.

Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
"This action also blocks, or freezes, the property and interests in property of designated individuals or entities." -Ms. Nuland

According to Ms. Nuland, those designated today include Minister of Communication and Information Technology, Reza Taghipour, who has been found responsible for ordering the jamming of satellite television broadcasts and restricting internet connectivity.

In addition, the US government also sanctioned Iran's Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance and its Press Supervisory Board, which have limited freedom of expression through their censorship and closure of numerous newspapers and detention of journalists.

The US is also designating key individuals and entities responsible for assisting the regime in its crackdown on and censorship of the Iranian people.

"Such abuses demonstrate the Iranian Government's ongoing campaign to censor its own citizens, curtail their freedoms, and to prevent the free flow of information both in to and out of Iran." -Ms. Nuland

She reports that countless activists, journalists, lawyers, students, and artists have been detained, censured, tortured, or forcibly prevented from exercising their human rights.

With the measures, Ms. Nuland stresses the US government is world's attention to the scope of the regime's insidious actions, which oppress its own people and violate Iran's own laws and international obligations.

"We will continue to stand with the Iranian people in their quest to protect their dignity and freedoms and prevent the Iranian Government from creating an "electronic curtain" to cut Iranian citizens off from the rest of the world." -Ms. Nuland

In July this year, President Barack Obama imposed additional sanctions on Iran's energy and banking sectors.

Two Executive Orders signed will further restrict access to Iran's energy and petrochemical sectors.

The new sanctions follow measures taken earlier this year against any institution that deals with Iran's Central Bank. They also are the latest round in increasingly punitive measures targeting companies worldwide that do business with Iran's oil and energy businesses.

The Obama Administration's move follows the failed P5+1 talks with Iran in Moscow, which came after similarly fruitless negotiations in Baghdad and Istanbul. No date has been set for more high-level talks between Iran and the U.S., Russia, Britain, France, China and Germany. At the same time, Tehran continues defiantly to proclaim progress in its nuclear program.

Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain english. Read more stories by Mina Fabulous. Contact Mina through NewsBlaze.

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