Washington: The US on Thursday extended its sanctions against Iran, the State Department said.
"Today the United States government took three separate sanctions actions against Iran's primary intelligence agency, the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS)," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.

"MOIS was designated for its involvement in the commission of serious human rights abuses against the Iranian people, as well as its support to terrorist groups, including Al Qaeda, Hezbollah and Hamas," she said.

"It was also designated under a separate executive order for its support to the Syrian regime in brutally repressing the Syrian people. We have imposed visa and financial sanctions on the MOIS for its commission of serious human rights abuses in its own country," Nuland said.

She said the sanctions expose the MOIS activities and encouraged all US partners to "take similar actions in response to the MOIS involvement in illicit conduct".

Iran is under a few sets of UN Security Council sanctions. Western countries led by the US suspect that the Islamic Republic is seeking to build nuclear weapons, but Tehran insists it needs nuclear power solely for civilian purposes.