Individuals who aid Iran and Syria by breaking sanctions and export laws will be banned from shipping, selling or purchasing goods connected to U.S. persons and may be blocked from the United States, President Barack Obama said Tuesday in an executive order.
“I have determined that efforts by foreign persons to engage in activities intended to evade U.S. economic and financial sanctions with respect to Iran and Syria undermine our efforts to address the national emergencies,” Obama wrote in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner and Vice President Joe Biden.
The order prohibits transactions with U.S. persons, even when they are outside the United States.
Sanctions against Iran have increasingly tightened, following the passage of major sanctions bills in 2010 and 2011 and executive orders to seize funds connected to Iran and to target the country’s petroleum industry.
Syria has likewise been pegged for human rights abuses and connections to terrorism.
President Bill Clinton issued orders meant to control weapons proliferation and to keep U.S. persons out of the Iranian oil industry. President George W. Bush followed with orders to freeze assets of individuals connected to weapons of mass destruction and to block exports of munitions and dual use items to Syria.
Individuals who facilitate transactions to avoid sanctions or violate the earlier executive orders are targeted by Obama’s new order.
They will be prohibited from any transactions dealing with goods intended for the United States or any goods provided by or to U.S. persons. This includes financing, transporting, swapping, brokering, approving or guaranteeing goods and transactions.
Most exports to Iran and Syria are illegal under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act because the countries are considered sponsors of terrorism.
Obama has delegated the authority to enforce the order to the Secretary of the Treasury in consultation with the Secretary of State.
Last week, Obama announced sanctions against individuals who help Iran and Syria target dissent using information technology.