WASHINGTON (CN) – President Barack Obama ordered travel and financial sanctions against anyone found to be complicit in human rights abuses by the governments of Syria and Iran through information technology.
The sanctions focus on people who live in either of the two nations and support government activities through computer and network disruption, or monitoring and tracking of dissidents.
An executive order signed by the president on Sunday bans people determined by the Secretary of State to be aiding the government of Syria or Iran from entering the United States.
Obama also ordered the Secretary of the Treasury to freeze the assets the assets of individuals and companies found to be assisting such abuse by Syria and Iran, including companies who have sold, leased or otherwise provided services or technology for disruption, monitoring or tracking.
In remarks made following a tour of the United States Holocaust Museum, the president said, “These technologies should be in place to empower citizens, not to repress them.”
The White House Press Secretary released a fact sheet saying that the president’s order was specifically meant to isolate the regimes in Damascus and Teheran and to degrade their ability to acquire and use technology to oppress their people.