U.S. sanctions brother of Iran's Quds force commander: White House

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Thursday sanctioned Sohrab Soleimani, the brother of the commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, for his role in abuses in Iranian prisons.

The action freezes any assets Soleimani might have in the United States and bars U.S. citizens from conducting transactions with him.

Soleimani is the “supervisor of the office of the deputy for security and law enforcement of the state prisons organization,” the U.S. Treasury Department said. He is also the former director general of the Tehran Prisons Organization, which was also sanctioned on Thursday.

Soleimani’s brother Qassem Soleimani leads Iran’s Quds Force, the elite special forces arm of the Revolutionary Guards. Qassem Soleimani had previously been sanctioned, the White House said.

“The sanctions against human rights abusers in Iran’s prisons comes at a time when Iran continues to unjustly detain ... various foreigners, including U.S. citizens,” White House spokesman Sean Spicer told a press briefing.

Reporting by Steve Holland; Writing by Tim Ahmann; Editing by David Alexander and Frances Kerry