February 7, 2013 - 09:58 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The United States blacklisted Iran’s state broadcasting authority, Internet-policing agencies and a major electronics producer on Wednesday, Feb 6, an action that widened the American sanctions effort to pressure the Iranian government over not only its disputed nuclear program but also over the stifling of domestic dissent and access to information, The New York Times reports.
A statement by the Treasury Department also announced the formal start of tightened restrictions, under a law passed last year, meant to severely inhibit Iran’s already weakened ability to repatriate earnings from the sale of oil, its most important export.
David S. Cohen, the Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, who oversees the sanctions effort, said the actions were meant to “intensify the economic pressure against the Iranian regime.”
He said, “We will also target those in Iran who are responsible for human rights abuses, especially those who deny the Iranian people their basic freedoms of expression, assembly and speech.”
The new sanctions targeted Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, which is responsible for broadcast policy in Iran and oversees production at Iranian television and radio channels. Its director, Ezzatollah Zarghami, was included in the action.
Also targeted were the Iranian Cyber Police, which the Treasury Department described as an authority created three years ago to filter Web sites, monitor Internet behavior and hack into e-mail accounts of Iranians deemed to be subversive; and the Communications Regulatory Authority, which the Treasury Department described as an enforcer of Internet filtering and the blocking of Web sites deemed objectionable by the Iranian government.
In addition, the Treasury targeted Iran Electronics Industries, a producer of electronic systems and products, which the Treasury said was responsible for “goods and services related to jamming, monitoring and eavesdropping.”
Under American sanctions laws, any United States property held by blacklisted companies and individuals is impounded, and they are prohibited from engaging in any transactions with American citizens.