Treasury Sanctions Oil Revenues and Targets Human Rights Abusers

February 6, 2013

            On February 6, the U.S. Treasury Department imposed new sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran and other financial institutions to restrict Tehran’s ability to spend oil revenues. The Treasury Department also designated one individual and four entities for involvement in censorship activities. The entitles included Iran’s official broadcasting agency, its cyber police, the Communications Regulatory Authority and Iran Electronics Industries. The United States will “target those in Iran who are responsible for human right abuses, especially those who deny the Iranian people their basic freedoms of expression, assembly and speech,” said Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen. The following are excerpts from the press release.

            The United States is taking a number of actions today that tighten sanctions on Iran’s access to its oil revenues and further expose the Iranian government’s continued abuse of human rights.  Key provisions of the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012 (TRA) that go into effect today, expand the scope of sanctionable transactions with the Central Bank of Iran and designated Iranian financial institutions by restricting Iran’s ability to use oil revenue held in foreign financial institutions as well as preventing repatriation of those funds to Iran.  The U.S. Department of the Treasury, in consultation with the U.S. Department of State, also designated one individual and four entities for their involvement in the Iranian government’s censorship activities.  These censorship activities restrict the free flow of information in Iran and punish Iranian citizens who are attempting to exercise freedom of assembly and expression.
 
            “Our policy is clear – so long as Iran continues to fail to address the concerns of the international community about its nuclear program, the U.S. will impose tighter sanctions and intensify the economic pressure against the Iranian regime,” said Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen.  “We will also target those in Iran who are responsible for human right abuses, especially those who deny the Iranian people their basic freedoms of expression, assembly and speech.”
 
Humanitarian Exceptions
The increased restrictions, however, do not apply to the sale of agricultural commodities, food, medicine, or medical devices to Iran.  Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control is issuing guidance today to make it clear that such humanitarian trade with Iran is neither subject to these sanctions nor to sanctions previously imposed on Iran.
 
Sanctions Linked to Censorship in Iran
In addition to increasing economic pressure on Iran, the Treasury Department, in consultation with the State Department, designated the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting and its director, as well as three other entities in Iran, pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13628, which implements the TRA by giving the Treasury Department the authority to designate those in Iran who restrict or deny the free flow of information to or from the Iranian people. 
 
Any property or interests in property in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons in which the designated entities or individuals have an interest are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them. 
 
Click here for the press release.