The Obama administration on Wednesday placed eight Iranian officials on a U.S. financial blacklist for what it said were their roles in human rights violations following Iran's disputed June 2009 presidential election.
The Treasury and State departments jointly announced that the sanctions, signed by President Barack Obama, target Iranians who "share responsibility for the sustained and severe violation of human rights in Iran."
The order blocks any U.S. assets of the eight Iranians and prohibits Americans from doing business with them.
Among the eight Iranians is Mohammad Ali Jafari, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
The administration said that forces under Jafari's command participated in beatings, murder and arbitrary arrests of peaceful protesters in the aftermath of the Iranian election.
Also named was Sadeq Mahsouli, currently Iran's minister of welfare and social security. He was minister of the interior at the time of the June 2009 election, and in that role had authority over all police forces and Interior Ministry security agents, the administration's announcement said.
"His forces were responsible for attacks on the dormitories of Tehran University on June 15, 2009, during which students were severely beaten and detained," the joint Treasury and State statement said.
The White House portrayed the sanctions as a reflection of U.S. efforts to support peaceful change in Iran.
"The United States will always stand with those in Iran who aspire to have their voices heard," a White House statement said. "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."