US slaps terrorism sanctions on Iran intel agency

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Obama administration is slapping sanctions on Iran's ministry of intelligence and security, asserting that it supports global terrorism, commits human rights abuses against Iranians and participates in ongoing repression in Syria.

The Treasury Department announced Thursday that it added the ministry to its list of specially designated global terrorists. The step freezes any assets the group may have in U.S. jurisdictions, bars Americans from doing business with it and bans ministry employees from travel to the United States. The effect of the sanctions will be largely symbolic as it is not known to have holdings in the U.S.

The announcement said the ministry had helped al-Qaida agents in Iran and provided then with identity cards and passports and had given money and weapons to al-Qaida in Iraq.