U.S. President Barack Obama announced on Monday that his administration has slapped new sanctions on entities and one individual that are believed to be helping the Iranian and Syrian governments to disrupt or monitor the Internet and phone communications in their countries.
"I've signed an executive order that authorizes new sanctions against the Syrian government and Iran and those that abet them for using technologies to monitor and track and target citizens for violence," Obama said in a speech at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C..
"These technologies should be in place to empower citizens, not to repress them," he said.
According to a White House statement on Monday, the executive order, signed by Obama on Sunday, imposes fresh sanctions on one individual named Ali Mamluk, who is the director of the Syrian General Intelligence Directorate.
There are also six targeted entities, including the Syrian General Intelligence Directorate, the Syrian cell phone company Syriatel, Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security, the Law Enforcement Forces of Iran and Iran's Internet service provider Datak Telecom.
The executive order freezes the property of the targeted individual and entities, and bans Mamluk's entry into the United States, according to the statement.