The incident, which follows Iran’s recovery of a crashed CIA drone in its territory last year, was another reminder of how tensions between the United States and Iran could quickly escalate as the West tightens pressure on Tehran over its nuclear program.
U.S. President Barack Obama has resisted calls from inside the United States and Israel for military action against Iran, focusing instead on crushing rounds of sanctions, which were tightened again on Thursday.
The United States imposed sanctions on Iran’s communications minister and the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance for jamming international satellite broadcasts to Iran and censoring and closing newspapers and detaining journalists.
The State Department said that Reza Taqipour, Iran’s minister of telecommunications, has been found responsible for ordering the jamming of satellite television broadcasts and restricting Internet connectivity.
“We will continue to stand with the Iranian people in their quest to protect their dignity and freedoms and prevent the Iranian Government from creating an ‘electronic curtain’ to cut Iranian citizens off from the rest of the world,” a State Department statement said.