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Iranian officials accused of rights abuses

WASHNGTON, D.C., Dec. 13 (UPI) -- The United States Tuesday accused two top Iranian military officials of serious human rights abuses following Iran's 2009 elections.

The U.S. Treasury and State departments said Hassan Firouzabadi, chairman of Iran's Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Abdollah Araqi, deputy commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' ground forces, were cited under a September 2010 presidential order.

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"The Iranian people have suffered tremendously at the hands of senior officials, who instead of protecting their basic rights have ordered and orchestrated widespread, serious human rights abuses aimed at silencing criticism and punishing dissent," Office of Foreign Assets Control Director Adam J. Szubin said in a release. "In support of the Iranian people's quest for justice and accountability, we are taking further action today to expose the involvement of senior Iranian government officials in serious human rights abuses."

Under the executive order's stipulations, Americans are prohibited from engaging in any transactions with Firouzabadi or Araqi. Any assets the two military leaders may have under U.S. jurisdiction are frozen.

Larry Posner, State Department assistant secretary for democracy, human rights and labor, said the action "underscores our enduring commitment to hold accountable Iranian government officials responsible for or complicit in serious human rights abuses."

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The United States alleges Firouzabadi and Araqi bear responsibility for the crackdowns on protesters and mistreatment of political detainees since Iran's June 12, 2009, elections.

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