May 23, 2014 / 3:42 PM / 5 years ago

U.S. sanctions Iranian official for limiting free speech

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States imposed sanctions on an Iranian official on Friday for allegedly putting limits on free speech in Iran, including cutting off mobile phone communications during political demonstrations in 2012.

The U.S. Treasury Department, which announced the sanctions, did not link the action to negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program.

Iran and six world powers, including the United States, face a July 20 deadline on their talks. U.S. and Iranian officials said last week there has been little progress made.

On Friday, the Treasury said Washington was sanctioning Morteza Tamaddon, who it identified as the current head of the Tehran Provincial Public Security Council.

Tamaddon was involved in harassing Iranian opposition politicians following the country’s 2009 election and also publicly threatened protesters in 2012, the Treasury said.

It said any U.S. assets held by Tamaddon would be frozen and Americans would be prohibited from doing business with him.

Reporting by Jason Lange; Editing by Tom Brown

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