WASHINGTON  – US President Barack Obama pledged on Monday to do whatever he can to prevent future holocausts, from speaking out against human rights abuses to stopping Iran from obtaining the means to make nuclear weapons. “National sovereignty is never a licence to slaughter your people,” Obama said.“Preventing genocide is an achievable goal,” Obama said during remarks at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. US President Barack ordered new sanctions on Syria and Iran and the “digital guns for hire” who help them oppress their people with surveillance software and monitoring technology. Obama announced additions to the pile of US sanctions already faced by the two governments as part of a wider effort to crack down on human rights abuses, atrocities and genocide, at a speech at the US Holocaust Museum.The measures will hit the two governments but also companies that help create systems that track or monitor their people for killing, torture or other abuses and prevent individuals involved from entering the United States.“I’ve signed an executive order that authorizes new sanctions against the Syrian government and Iran and those that abet them for using technologies to monitor and track and target citizens for violence,” Obama said. Iran and Syria have allegedly cracked down on dissenters by blocking access to Internet, and using the web themselves to maintain surveillance on protesters. The new order is part of what the White House calls ‘a comprehensive strategy and new tools to prevent and respond to atrocities’. It includes creation of an Atrocities Prevention Board, which is composed of officials from throughout the government.“We’re making sure that the United States government has the structures, the mechanisms to better prevent and respond to mass atrocities,” Obama said.In another discussion of Iran, Obama cited the US diplomatic efforts to dissuade Tehran from seeking the means to make a nuclear weapon. Obama, who has clashed with Israel’s leadership over Iran policy, said he would always stand with Israel, recalling the comment of a woman who told him during a tour of the Warsaw Ghetto, “it’s the only Jewish state we have.” “And I made her a promise in that solemn place,” Obama said. “I said, I will always be there for Israel.”Repeating the phrase ‘never again’, Obama spoke not only in terms of the Holocaust against Jews in World War II, but of modern mass killings in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. “Remembrance without resolve is a hollow gesture,” Obama said. He later added: “We are haunted by the atrocities we did not stop.”Obama also talked about other things his administration is already doing to prevent genocide, including the military intervention in Libya, creation of the new state of South Sudan, increased diplomatic pressure on Syria, and the on-going manhunt of African warlord Joseph Kony.Before the speech, Obama toured the Holocaust museum with director Sara Bloomfield and Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel.