United States embargoes

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Countries sanctioned in some form by the US

As of 2014, there are several United States embargoes and sanctions in force by the United States against several countries and activities, the most notable of which are against countries the federal government of the United States considers State Sponsors of Terrorism.

Some sanctions imposed by the United States government are:

  • No arms-related exports[1]
  • Controls over dual-use exports
  • Restrictions on economic assistance
  • Financial restrictions
    • Requiring the United States to oppose loans by the World Bank and other international financial institutions.
    • Diplomatic immunity waived to allow families of terrorist victims to file for civil damages in U.S. courts.
    • Tax credits for companies and individuals denied for income earned in listed countries.
    • Duty-free goods exemption suspended for imports from those countries.
    • Authority to prohibit a U.S. citizen from engaging in financial transactions with the government on the list without a license from the U.S. government.
    • Prohibition of Defense Department contracts above $100,000 with companies controlled by countries on the list.[2]

Implementing agencies[edit]

Authorizing laws[edit]

Several laws delegate embargo power to the President:

Several laws specifically prohibit trade with certain countries..

Targeted parties[edit]

As of October 2014, the United States has sanctions against:[3]


Country Year introduced Article Summary
 Cuba 1960 United States embargo against Cuba A very long running series of sanctions that restrict almost all trade and travel between the two countries dating from Cold War confrontations in the late 1950s and 1960s after the revolution led by Fidel Castro. Formerly listed as state sponsor of terrorism. In December 2014, president Obama announced the re-opening of official diplomatic ties and a review of this status. As of April 15, 2015, president Barack Obama has eased several sanctions pertaining to the embargo on Cuba.
 Iran 1979 U.S. sanctions against Iran Near total economic embargo on all economic activities, including a ban on all Iranian imports, sanctions on Iranian financial institutions as well as restriction on the sale of aircraft and repair parts as well as arms embargoes. This policy began in 1979 as a response to the Iranian Revolution, but has been rapidly expanded over recent years due to the Iranian Nuclear Program On May 30, 2013, OFAC issued Iranian General License D, authorizing the exportation or reexportation, directly or indirectly, from the United States or by U.S. persons, wherever located, to persons in Iran of "certain services, software, and hardware incident to personal communications". General License D enumerates certain categories allowed to be exported to Iran. For scope and further details, see General License D and the Annex to General License D, available from OFAC's Iran Sanctions Resource Center at http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/pages/iran.aspx. Listed as state sponsor of terrorism.
 North Korea 1950 North Korea–United States relations Severe sanctions justified by accusations of human rights abuses by North Korea and the North Korean Nuclear Program. North Korea and the US have no diplomatic relations.
 Sudan 2002 Sudan–United States relations Sanctions due to criticism of Sudan's human Rights record as well as Sudanese support for the Iraqi Invasion of Kuwait and accusations that Sudan has harbored Islamic Extremists has led to a series of economic sanctions. Listed as state sponsor of terrorism.
 Syria 1986 Syria–United States relations Reasons for sanctions include Syria's poor human rights record, the present Civil War, and being listed as a state sponsor of terrorism.
 Burma 1997 Burma–United States relations Determined that the Government of Burma (then ruled by a military junta) had committed large-scale repression of the democratic opposition in Burma and declared a national emergency with respect to the actions and policies of that government. Several subsequent Executive orders have been issued to modify the scope of and take additional steps with respect to the national emergency declared in E.O. 13047. In May 2012, the President and the Secretary of State announced that the United States would begin easing certain financial and investment sanctions on Burma in response to the historic reforms taking place there. Since July 2012, the U.S. Government has taken various actions in response to the reforms in Burma.


Country Description
 Belarus Certain persons undermining democratic processes or institutions in Belarus (including President Alexander Lukashenko and other officials)
 Ivory Coast Certain persons contributing to the conflict in Ivory Coast
 Democratic Republic of the Congo Certain persons contributing to the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
 Iraq Specific individuals and entities associated with the former Saddam Hussein regime, as well as parties determined to have committed, or to pose a significant risk of committing an act of violence that threatens the peace or stability of Iraq or the Government of Iraq or undermining efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq or to provide humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people
 Lebanon Persons undermining the sovereignty of Lebanon or its democratic processes and institutions
 Liberia The former Charles Taylor administration in Liberia; prohibits importation of any round log or timber product originating in Liberia
 Russia Persons responsible for the detention, abuse, and death of Sergei Magnitsky and other gross violations of human rights in Russia (see Magnitsky Act)
 Somalia Certain persons contributing to the conflict in Somalia

Persons who threaten international stabilisation in the Western Balkans and some states of the former Yugoslavia
 Yemen Persons threatening the peace, security, or stability of Yemen
 Zimbabwe Persons undermining democratic processes or institutions in Zimbabwe, including a number of Government Officials
( Crimea)
Persons undermining the peace, security, stability, territorial integrity and the democratic processes and institutions of Ukraine. Also persons administering areas of Ukraine without central government consent, also a number of senior Russian Officials close to President Putin.
 Central African Republic Persons contributing to the conflict in the Central African Republic
 South Sudan Persons contributing to the conflict in South Sudan and those who have committed human rights abuses
Libya/ Libya Persons associated with the Gaddafi Regime
 Venezuela Government officials contributing to the 2014–15 Venezuelan protests and those who have committed human rights violations

There are also list-based sanctions related to countering terrorism, rough diamond trade controls (see Kimberley Process), counter narcotics, nuclear proliferation and transnational criminal organizations.[3]

Some countries listed are members of the World Trade Organization, but WTO rules allow trade restrictions for non-economic purposes.

Combined, the Treasury Department, the Commerce Department and the State Department list embargoes against 31 countries or territories: Afghanistan, Balkans,[4] Belarus, Myanmar (Burma), Central African Republic, China (PR), Cote d'Ivoire, Crimea Region of Ukraine, Cuba, Cyprus, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Fiji, Haiti, Iran, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, North Korea, Russia, Rwanda, Somalia, Sri Lanka, North Sudan, Syria, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen, Zimbabwe.[5][6][7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Haidar, J.I., 2015."Sanctions and Exports Deflection: Evidence from Iran," Paris School of Economics, University of Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne, Mimeo
  2. ^ "Chapter 3 - State Sponsors of Terrorism Overview". State.gov. Retrieved 2009-06-09. 
  3. ^ a b U.S. Treasury - Sanctions Program Summaries Links to overviews, details, and legal authorities for each party are given.
  4. ^ Office of Foreign Assets Control. U.S. Department of the Treasury http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Documents/balkans.txt. Retrieved 1 September 2015.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ U.S. State Department http://www.pmddtc.state.gov/embargoed_countries/. Retrieved 1 September 2015.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ "Sanctions Programs and Country Information". U.S. Treasury. Retrieved 1 September 2015. 
  7. ^ "Export Controlled or Embargoed Countries, Entities and Persons". Stanford University. Retrieved 1 September 2015. 

External links[edit]