Obama seeks to curb Iran, Syria dissident monitoring

April 23, 2012 17:12

WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama will announce sanctions on Monday on those helping Syria and Iran acquire technology that lets them target dissidents through their cell phone and Internet use.

Social media tools that allowed democracy campaigners to organize rallies across the Middle East and North Africa are being monitored by Tehran and Damascus to "facilitate serious human rights abuses," an administration official said.

Obama was to unveil the executive order, which he signed on Sunday, in a speech at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.

The order freezes US assets linked to people found to have aided satellite, computer and phone network monitoring in Syria, where more than 9,000 people have been killed in more than a year in turmoil, as well as Iran, where Washington believes authorities are clamping down on opposition groups.

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