The Obama administration is piling new sanctions on Iranian and Syrian intelligence agencies and communications firms to pressure entities that use information technology to commit human rights abuses.

After President Barack Obama signed a new executive order permitting the penalties on Monday, the Treasury Department slapped sanctions on six Iranian and Syrian companies or government branches along with the head of Syria's intelligence directorate. The sanctions freeze any assets they may have in U.S. jurisdictions and ban Americans from doing business with them.

Six of the seven — Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps, national police, and intelligence ministry as well as the Syrian intelligence chief and his agency and the state-controlled cell phone company — were already subject to U.S. sanctions. The new addition is Iran's Datak Telecom Internet provider.