U.S. slaps sanctions on Iran's intelligence ministry

February 17, 2012 9:14 am 

WASHINGTON, Feb. 17 — The United States on Thursday targeted Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) for sanctions over its alleged support to terrorist groups and the Syrian government.

The Department of Treasury blacklisted the ministry also for "its central role in perpetrating human rights abuses against the citizens of Iran," a move that bars U.S. persons from doing business with the agency, freezes its assets under U.S. jurisdiction and imposes a visa ban on all its members.

The U.S. Treasury alleged that the MOIS provides financial, material or technological support for Hezbollah, a Lebanese Shiite militant group, and Hamas, a Palestinian movement that rules the Gaza Strip, and has participated in multiple joint projects with Hezbollah in computer hacking.

Washington brands both Hezbollah and Hamas as terrorist organizations.

As Iran's primary intelligence organization, the MOIS has also facilitated the movement of al-Qaida operatives in Iran and provided them with documents, identification cards and passports, in addition to providing money and weapons to al-Qaida in Iraq, the Treasury said in a statement.

"Today we have designated the MOIS for abusing the basic human rights of Iranian citizens and exporting its vicious practices to support the Syrian regime's abhorrent crackdown on its own population," Under Secretary of Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen said.

"In addition, we are designating the MOIS for its support to terrorist groups, including al-Qaida, al-Qaida in Iraq, Hezbollah and Hamas, again exposing the extent of Iran's sponsorship of terrorism as a matter of Iranian state policy," he added.

Iran was accused of being behind the recent bomb attacks in India, Georgia and Thailand targeting Israeli citizens, a claim denied by the Islamic republic.

The U.S. and the European Union have targeted Iran's central bank and oil exports for expanded sanctions in their continuous efforts to press the country to stop its uranium enrichment activities.

Washington has slapped sanctions on Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force and Law Enforcement Forces, or the country's national police, for their alleged support to the Syrian government. (PNA/Xinhua)

DCT/ebp

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