New Executive Order targets foreign entities in contravention of current sanctions

US tightens up sanctions on Iran and Syria

President Obama has signed a new Executive Order (E.O.), “Prohibiting Certain Transactions with and Suspending Entry into the United States of Foreign Sanctions Evaders with Respect to Iran and Syria,” which provides the U.S. Treasury Department with a new authority to further tighten U.S. sanctions on Iran and Syria.

Existing U.S. sanctions imposed on both Iran and Syria mean that all property and interests in property of their respective governments and financial institutions are currently frozen. The new E.O. targets foreign nationals and corporate entities that have violated, attempted to violate, conspired to violate, or caused a violation of U.S. sanctions, as well as anyone involved in facilitating deceptive transactions for anyone subject to them.

The new powers create a much greater deterrent to sanctions evaders since the U.S. Treasury may now publicly identify transgressors, and ultimately bar them access to U.S. financial and commercial systems.

Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen said in a statement that “the foreign sanctions evaders E.O. provides Treasury additional means to impose serious consequences on foreign persons who seek to evade our sanctions and undermine international efforts to bring pressure to bear on the Iranian and Syrian regimes. Whoever tries to evade our sanctions does so at the expense of the people of Syria and Iran, and they will be held accountable”.

The move will pile further pressure on the regimes in Tehran and Damascus who have been targeted by U.S. sanctions with respect to their abuse of human rights, support for terrorism, and proliferation and development of weapons of mass destruction.