WASHINGTON - The United States on Thursday announced sanctions on Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS), which it accused of supporting terrorism, abusing the human rights of Iranian citizens and supporting the Syrian government's crackdown.
"Today we have designated the MOIS for abusing the basic rights of Iranian citizens and exporting its vicious practices to support the Syrian regime's abhorrent crackdown on its own population," David Cohen, the US Treasury's under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in a statement.
MOIS also provides support for al Qaida, al Qaida in Iraq, Hezbollah and Hamas, "exposing the extent of Iran's sponsorship of terrorism as a matter of Iranian state policy," Cohen said.
The move is the latest in a series of steps the United States has taken to increase pressure on Iran over its nuclear program, which Tehran says is for peaceful purposes.
It bars MOIS officials from traveling to the United States, blocks any property MOIS owns in the United States and prevents US citizens or companies from dealings with MOIS.