WASHINGTON, Feb. 24 (UPI) -- Washington expressed its deep concern with the repressive behavior of the Iranian regime, sanctioning two Iranian officials for human rights abuses.
The U.S. Departments of Treasury and State announced sanctions against Tehran Prosecutor General Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi and Mohammed Reza Naqdi, the commander of the paramilitary Basij forces, for human rights abuses in Iran since the 2009 crackdown on anti-regime demonstrators.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a statement said Washington was "deeply concerned" by ongoing atrocities in Iran.
"Security forces have beaten, detained, and -- in at least three cases -- killed peaceful protesters," she said.
Iran responded to the unrest that greeted President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's re-election in 2009 with force. Scores of demonstrators were rounded up and authorities recently placed two key opposition leaders under house arrest.
Tehran issued statements condemning the violent reaction to the political unrest spreading across much of the Arab world.
"It has been made clear to the world that Iran denies its citizens the same fundamental rights it continues to applaud elsewhere in the Middle East," said Clinton.
The White House added that the Iranian people should have the right to express their grievances without fear of their own government.
"We continue to call upon the Iranian government to respect the rights of its people and we will continue to hold accountable those who infringe upon those universal rights," the statement read.