US President Barack Obama on Wednesday ordered sanctions against eight senior Iranian officials -- including the minister of interior -- for "sustained and severe violations of human rights."
In a rare move targeting serving officials, Obama issued an executive order that would also freeze the assets of the head of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, the prosecutor general and the deputy head of the national police service.
The group, including the minister of interior, Mostafa Mohammad Najjar, were linked to the suppression of anti-government demonstrators following June 2009 elections.
In the wake of the contested poll hundreds of thousands of opposition supporters defied a government ban and poured onto the streets of Tehran in protests that were the largest seen since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.
Human rights groups have accused the government of suppressing the uprising through extra-judicial killings, rapes and torture.