US Imposes Sanctions On Iranian Officials For 'Abuses'

US President Barack Obama has ordered for the first time sanctions against senior Iranian officials for "sustained and severe violations of human rights". The eight men include the head of the Revolutionary Guards, a former interior minister and the prosecutor-general. The treasury department said they would face a travel ban and asset freeze. The alleged abuses include the killings and beatings of anti-government protesters after the disputed presidential election in June 2009.Millions of Iranians defied official warnings and participated in mass rallies that drew the largest crowds since the Islamic Revolution in 1979. The authorities launched a brutal crackdown, during which opposition and human rights groups accused the security forces of extra-judicial killings, rapes and torture. Thousands were held without charge. Over the subsequent six months, at least 40 protesters were killed, although the opposition says more than 70 died. At least two people have been executed for related offences, and dozens imprisoned. In a statement, the White House said: "As the president noted in his recent address to the United Nations General Assembly, human rights are a matter of moral and pragmatic necessity for the United States." "The United States will always stand with those in Iran who aspire to have their voices heard. We will be a voice for those aspirations that are universal, and we continue to call upon the Iranian government to respect the rights of its people." All of those named in the US sanctions list served in Iran's military, law enforcement and justice system around the time of the 2009 protests:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-11439033