The U.S. Department of State reported Thursday to Congress the designations of four Iranian individuals and five Iranian entities for having engaged in censorship or other 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.
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, said U.S. State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland.
Also sanctioned are 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.
“In addition, we are designating key individuals and entities responsible for assisting the regime in its crackdown on and censorship of the Iranian people,” Nuland said in a statement.
These 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.
As a result of this action, 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.
This action also blocks, or freezes, the property and interests in property of designated individuals or entities.
According to Nuland, “These actions underscore the Administration’s ongoing commitment to hold Iranian government officials and entities responsible for the abuses carried out against their own citizens.”
Nuland said that 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.
“Countless activists, journalists, lawyers, students, and artists have been detained, censured, tortured, or forcibly prevented from exercising their human rights,” Nuland said in the statement, adding that “With the measures we are taking today, we draw the 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.”