WASHINGTON — The United States increased pressure against Iran’s government yesterday, slapping financial and travel sanctions on eight Iranian officials and accusing them of taking part in rampant human rights abuses.
Under an executive order signed this week by President Obama, the State and Treasury departments jointly said the sanctions target Iranians who “share responsibility for the sustained and severe violation of human rights in Iran,’’ notably after last year’s disputed presidential elections.
At a news conference, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said it was the first time the United States has imposed sanctions on Iranians for violating human rights. The step adds another layer to US sanctions on Iran, which had been imposed over the country’s nuclear program. “On these officials’ watch or under their command, Iranian citizens have been arbitrarily arrested, beaten, tortured, raped, blackmailed, and killed,’’ she said.
Among the eight Iranians is Mohammad Ali Jafari, commander of the powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.