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U.S. imposes sanctions on people in Iran, Syria and Uganda, citing rights abuses

·2 min read
A woman walks past the mural showing U.S. flag with barbed wire and the Statue Of Liberty with skull face in Tehran

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Tuesday imposed sanctions on more than a dozen people and entities in Iran, Syria and Uganda, accusing them of being connected to serious human rights abuses and repressive acts.

In an action marking the week of the U.S. Summit for Democracy, the Treasury Department said in a statement it was targeting repression and the undermining of democracy, designating individuals and entities tied to the violent suppression of peaceful protesters in Iran and deadly chemical weapons attacks against civilians in Syria, among others.

"Treasury will continue to defend against authoritarianism, promoting accountability for violent repression of people seeking to exercise their human rights and fundamental freedoms," Andrea Gacki, director of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control, said in the statement.

Washington blacklisted two senior Syrian Air Force officers it accused of being responsible for chemical weapon attacks on civilians and three senior officers in Syria's security and intelligence apparatus, according to the statement.

In Iran, the United States designated the Special Units of Iran's Law Enforcement Forces and Counter-Terror Special Forces, as well as several of their officials, and Gholamreza Soleimani, who commands Iran's hardline Basij militia. Two prisons and a prison director were also blacklisted over events that reportedly took place in them.

Uganda's chief of military intelligence, Major General Abel Kandiho, was also hit with sanctions over alleged human rights abuses committed under his watch. The Ugandan military said earlier on Tuesday that it was disappointed by the decision, which it said had been made without due process.

Tuesday's action freezes any U.S. assets of those blacklisted and generally bars Americans from dealing with them.

(Reporting by Daphne Psaledakis and Caitlin Webber; writing by Susan Heavey; Editing by Doina Chiacu and Rosalba O'Brien)

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