US slaps sanctions on Iran intel agency

Washington: The US has slapped sanctions on Iran`s Ministry of Intelligence and Security for its alleged support to terrorism, participation in the ongoing repression in Syria and human rights violations against its own people.

The US Department of Treasury, in a statement, announced that MOIS, Iran`s primary intelligence organisation, was added to the list of specially designated global terrorists.

"Today we have designated the MOIS for abusing the basic human rights of Iranian citizens and exporting its vicious practices to support the Syrian regime`s abhorrent crackdown on its own population," said Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, David S Cohen.

"In addition, we are designating the MOIS for its support to terrorist groups, including al-Qaida, al-Qaida in Iraq, Hizballah and HAMAS, again exposing the extent of Iran`s sponsorship of terrorism as a matter of Iranian state policy," Cohen said.

As a result of these sanctions, any property or property interests in the US or in possession or control of US persons in which the MOIS has an interest are blocked, and US persons are prohibited from engaging in transactions with it, the statement said.

As a result of today`s action, all members of the MOIS are also ineligible to receive visas from the Department of State.

According to the statement, US first "exposed Iran`s assistance to Syrian government in its violent crackdown against the Syrian population when, on April 29, 2011, President Barack Obama slapped sanctions on Iran`s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps – Qods Force (IRGC-QF)".

The IRGC-QF serves as a conduit for Iranian material support to the Syrian General Intelligence Directorate, the overarching civilian intelligence service in Syria.

On May 18, 2011, the Treasury imposed sanctions on two IRGC-QF senior officers- Qasem Soleimani, Commander of the IRGC-QF, and Mohsen Chizari, a senior IRGC-QF officer who serves as the Commander of IRGC-QF Operations and Training, the statement said.

A little over a month later, on June 29, 2011, the Treasury designated Iran`s Law Enforcement Forces, commonly referred to as Iran`s national police. Like the IRGC-QF, the LEF provided material support to the Syrian GID; it also dispatched personnel to Damascus in April to assist the Syrian government in its efforts to suppress the Syrian people, it said.

Ismail Ahmadi Moghadam, the chief of Iran`s LEF, and deputy chief Ahmad-Reza Radan, were also designated at that time. In April 2011, Radan traveled to Damascus, where he met with Syrian security services and provided support to the Syrian government`s crackdown, it added.