President Barack Obama announced Monday that he has signed an executive order allowing new sanctions against companies that enable Syria and Iran to use technology such as cell phone monitoring to carry out human rights abuses.
The order is part of a broader strategy intended to strengthen the administration's ability to prevent atrocities, including creation of an Atrocities Prevention Board, Obama said in somber remarks at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day.
"These technologies should be in place to empower citizens, not to repress them," Obama said of the measure, which targets the Syrian and Iranian governments, as well as companies that provide them with high-tech equipment to use against their own people.
A White House statement said the executive order signed Sunday "authorizes sanctions and visa bans against those who commit or facilitate grave human rights abuses via information technology ... related to Syrian and Iranian regime brutality."
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