• New U.S., EU Sanctions for Syria and Iran
  • May 9, 2012
  • Law Firm: Crowell Moring LLP - Washington Office
  • The Obama Administration issued two executive orders within the span of eight days authorizing further sanctions aimed at Iran and Syria, as well as those who do business with them. The first, the so-called Grave Human Rights Abuses Via Information Technology Executive Order ("GHRAVITY EO"), blocks the assets of entities involved in providing IT that facilitates network disruption, monitoring, or tracking and that assists or enables serious human rights abuses by Syria or Iran.

    The second, announced on May 1, is the Foreign Sanctions Evaders Executive Order ("FSE EO"). That measure allows Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control ("OFAC") to begin identifying and listing foreign entities who facilitate deceptive transactions or who otherwise attempt or conspire to violate Iran or Syria sanctions. Such a move would prohibit U.S. persons from conducting virtually any business with these parties whom Treasury has designated as sanctions evaders. OFAC may use this authority where it finds that a foreign person has violated U.S. sanctions but does not otherwise meet the criteria for inclusion on OFAC's list of "Specially Designated Nationals." No individuals or companies have yet been designated under this new authority.

    On April 23, 2012, in view of the gravity of the situation in Syria, the EU Council of Ministers imposed additional restrictive measures on the sale, supply, transfer or export of goods and technology that might be used for internal repression, as well as the sale or supply of luxury goods.

    By Council Regulation (EU) No 267/2012 of March 23, 2012, the EU Council of Ministers consolidated and expanded the EU measures in force against Iran.  The measures now include additional restrictions on trade in dual-use goods and technology, as well as on key equipment and technology which could be used in the petrochemical industry, and a ban on the import of Iranian crude oil, petroleum products and petrochemical products, as well as a prohibition of investment in the petrochemical industry. Moreover, trade in gold, precious metals and diamonds with the Government of Iran, as well as the delivery of newly printed banknotes and coinage to or for the benefit of the Central Bank of Iran, is prohibited. The Regulation further develops the application of targeted financial measures by providers of specialized financial messaging services.

    Also on March 23, 2012, the Council added prohibitions on the sale, supply, export or transfer, directly or indirectly, to Iran of equipment which might be used for internal repression, and of equipment and software for monitoring or interception of the internet or internet communications, and on the provision of related services. According to the new measures, a prior authorization is required for supplies of equipment, technology or software which may be used for monitoring or interception of the internet or telephone communications, to any person, entity or body in Iran or for use in Iran, and for the provision of telecommunication or internet monitoring or interception services of any kind to, or for the benefit of, Iran's government, public bodies, corporations and agencies.