U.S. lifts Myanmar import ban ahead of Obama visit
Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi meets with President Obama in the Oval Officer during her visit to the United States in September.
November 16th, 2012
06:27 PM ET

U.S. lifts Myanmar import ban ahead of Obama visit

By Jamie Crawford

The United States on Friday announced the easing of restrictions on imports of most goods from Myanmar, just a day before President Obama leaves on a trip that includes a stop in the former pariah state.

The lifting of the ban, which had been in place for nearly a decade, was made in response to ongoing reforms taken by the government of the country also known as Burma.

"Today's joint actions by the Departments of State and Treasury are intended to support the Burmese government's ongoing reform efforts and to encourage further change, as well as to offer new opportunities for Burmese and American businesses," the departments said in a statement.

The United States already has eased restrictions on U.S. investment in Myanmar, and resumed normal diplomatic relations with the Southeast Asia nation.
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Filed under: Myanmar • Sanctions
Putting a price on war with Iran
This satellite image made available to AFP/Getty Images on September 26, 2009 by Digitalglobe shows the suspected Iranian nuclear facility of Fordo near the holy Shiite city of Qom, where Iran is has begun enriching uranium to 20 per cent, according to the UN atomic watchdog agency IAEA.
November 15th, 2012
03:52 PM ET

Putting a price on war with Iran

By Jennifer Rizzo

An all-out U.S. war with Iran, including an invasion by American troops, would cost the global economy close to $2 trillion in the first three months and could go as high as $3 trillion, according to a Washington think tank.

A full-scale ground operation to dismantle Iran's nuclear program is unlikely but the scenario is just one of a handful that a group of nine experts, assembled by the Federation of American Scientists, examined to explore how the global economy would be impacted by U.S. action against Iran.

"There had been talks about oil spikes, about what would happen with the Iranian nuclear program, damage to Iran itself but there had been no, at least in the open sources, large-scale looks at what was going to happen globally," said Charles Blair who co-authored the report.
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Filed under: Iran • Military • Sanctions • Think tank • Treasury
U.S. targets Iranian human rights violators
Masked members of Iran's paramilitary Basij militia parade in front the former US embassy in Tehran on November 25, 2011 to mark the national Basij week.
November 8th, 2012
06:25 PM ET

U.S. targets Iranian human rights violators

By Jamie Crawford

The United States sanctioned 17 Iranian individuals and entities for their alleged roles in the Iranian government's human rights abuses and support of terrorism, the Treasury and State departments announced Thursday.

The actions were carried out under the authority of three separate executive orders that had already been put into effect.

In the first set of sanctions, the United States targeted four Iranian individuals and five entities for their roles in censoring or blocking citizen access to the internet and international media - including the jamming of international satellite broadcasts.

Among those targeted is Ali Fazli, deputy commander of the Basij militia, who participated in the brutal crackdown of civilian protestors in the aftermath of the disputed 2009 Iranian presidential election.

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October 1st, 2012
05:01 PM ET

U.S. says Iran currency woes show sanctions taking hold

By Jamie Crawford

A sharp drop on Monday in the value of Iran's currency shows that international financial pressure over Iran's disputed nuclear program is having an impact, the State Department said.

"The currency is plummeting and firms all over the world are refusing to do business with Iranian companies," agency spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters.

"So this speaks to the fact that we have said these are the most punishing sanctions we have ever been able to amass as an international community, and they are very important for trying to get Iran's attention on the important denuclearization work."

Iran's currency, the rial, plummeted to historic lows against the value of the dollar in open-market trading on Monday.

It has been in a distressed state since U.S. and European sanctions began to take hold earlier this year.
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Filed under: Iran • Sanctions
August 21st, 2012
10:03 AM ET

Is Iraq helping Iran evade sanctions?

Iran's economy is supposed to be in a stranglehold from international sanctions, but U.S. officials say Tehran still has access to the international banking system – thanks to Iraq. The U.S. government is looking to the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to help stop any sanctions busting. Jill Dougherty reports.


Filed under: Iran • Iraq • Sanctions • Security Clearance on TV
Defection perk: U.S. lifts sanctions on former Syrian prime minister
Syrian former prime minister Riad Hijab holds a press conference in the Jordanian capital Amman on August 14, 2012.
August 14th, 2012
02:45 PM ET

Defection perk: U.S. lifts sanctions on former Syrian prime minister

By Jamie Crawford

The United States lifted sanctions Tuesday against Riyad Hijab, the Syrian prime minister who recently defected from the regime of Bashar al-Assad and fled to neighboring Jordan.

The Treasury Department said that Hijab's ties to the Assad regime are severed, so he is no longer a senior official in the Syrian government and his name will be removed from the Treasury's list of people whose assets are frozen.

"Recent civilian and military defections from the Assad regime are further indications that the government is crumbling and losing its grip on power," David S. Cohen, the Treasury's under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in a written statement announcing the action. "The United States encourages other officials within the Syrian government, in both the political and military ranks, to take similarly courageous steps to reject the Assad regime and stand with the Syrian people."
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Filed under: Assad • Sanctions • Syria
U.S. targets Hezbollah for Syrian support
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has overseen the group's efforts to aid the Assad regime the Treasury Department said.
August 10th, 2012
11:43 AM ET

U.S. targets Hezbollah for Syrian support

The U.S. Treasury Department on Friday announced an extension of sanctions against Hezbollah, a Lebanon-based Shiite militant group, for its support of the Syrian government.

Hezbollah, which the United States has long designated a terrorist organization supported by Iran, has provided training, advice and extensive logistical support to President Bashar al-Assad's military campaign against an uprising that began last March, the department reported.

The agency accused the group of directly training Syrian government personnel inside Syria, and facilitating the training of Syrian forces by the Quds Force, an elite unit of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps.

"Hizballah's extensive support to the Syrian government's violent suppression of the Syrian people exposes the true nature of this terrorist organization and its destabilizing presence in the region," Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen said in a written statement announcing the sanctions.

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Filed under: Assad • Hezbollah • Iran • Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps • Lebanon • Quds Force • Sanctions • Security Brief • Syria • Treasury
August 8th, 2012
02:42 PM ET

Al Qaeda leader designated as global terrorist

By Wesley Bruer

A senior al Qaeda leader who trained militants in Afghanistan and who has close ties to other top members of the group has been designated by the State Department as a "Specially Designated Global Terrorist."

The designation also comes with sanctions against Azaam Abdullah Zureik Al-Maulid, better known as Mansur al-Harbi.

Though the United States is just now turning its attention to al-Harbi, he has long been a wanted man in his home country of Saudi Arabia.

In early 2009, al-Harbi was among the 83 Saudis and two Yemenis named on Saudi Arabia's list of most wanted terrorists for engaging in extremist activities abroad. FULL POST

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Filed under: Al Qaeda • Sanctions • State Department • Terrorism • Treasury
Congress, White House ramp up Iranian pressure
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
August 2nd, 2012
02:00 PM ET

Congress, White House ramp up Iranian pressure

By Jamie Crawford

With a new package of sanctions passed by Congress along with an executive order signed by President Barack Obama earlier this week, the United States is further tightening the screws on Iran amid persistent tension and concern over its nuclear program.

Congress passed legislation Wednesday evening that along with the White House's action "closes loopholes and stops the use of front companies or financial institutions to get around international sanctions," Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nevada, said in a statement released after its passage.

The new legislation aims to sanction banks, insurance companies and shippers that help Iran sell its oil by circumventing current sanctions, such as through the reflagging of Iranian ships. It puts virtually all of Iran's energy, financial and transportation sectors under U.S. sanctions.

In addition, the legislation seeks to prevent the return to Iran of any revenue from the purchase of Iranian oil that is legally allowed under existing sanctions.
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Filed under: Congress • Iran • Sanctions • Treasury
New Iran sanctions also hit banks in China, Iraq
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
July 31st, 2012
06:37 PM ET

New Iran sanctions also hit banks in China, Iraq

By Jamie Crawford

President Barack Obama announced new U.S. sanctions targeting Iran's oil Tuesday as well as banks in China and Iraq, warning that Tehran faces "growing consequences" for refusing to answer international questions about its nuclear program.

Obama said China's Bank of Kunlun and the Elaf Islamic Bank in Iraq "facilitated transactions worth millions of dollars" for Iranian banks already under sanctions.

"By cutting off these financial institutions from the United States, today's action makes it clear that we will expose any financial institution, no matter where they are located, that allows the increasingly desperate Iranian regime to retain access to the international financial system," Obama said in a statement issued by the White House.

On a conference call with reporters Tuesday, Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, said the purpose of additional sanctions was to "affect Iran's calculus" to get Tehran to negotiate seriously over its disputed nuclear program.
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Filed under: China • Iran • Iraq • Sanctions • Treasury
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