United States embargoes

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Countries sanctioned in some form by the US

As of 2014 the federal government of the United States imposes several embargoes and economic sanctions against different countries and activities, the most notable of them aimed against countries which the U.S. government has declared "State Sponsors of Terrorism".

Sanctions imposed by the United States government include:

  • no arms-related exports[1]
  • controls over dual-use technology 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 U.S. 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 May 2018, the United States has introduced sanctions against:[3]


Country Year introduced Article Summary
 Iran 1979 (Lifted 1981), Reintroduced 1987 United States 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 and Iran's poor human rights record. Iran and the US have no diplomatic relations. Listed as state sponsor of terrorism.

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.[4]

 North Korea 1950 North Korea–United States relations Severe sanctions justified by extreme human rights abuses by North Korea and the North Korean nuclear program. North Korea and the US currently have no diplomatic relations.
 Syria 1986 Syria–United States relations Reasons cited for sanctions include Syria's poor human rights record, the present Civil War, and being listed as a state sponsor of terrorism. Syria and the US currently have no diplomatic relations as of 2012.
 Sudan 1993 Sudan-United States relations Reasons cited for sanctions include Sudan's poor human rights record, the present War in Darfur, and being listed as a state sponsor of terrorism. Most US sanctions on Sudan were lifted in October 2017 by Executive Order of the President of the United States, Donald Trump.[5]
 Cuba 1958 United States embargo against Cuba Reasons cited for the embargo include Cuba's poor human rights record. Since 1992, the UN General Assembly has passed annual resolutions criticizing the ongoing impact of the embargo imposed by the United States.
 Venezuela 2018 United States-Venezuela relations[6] Reasons cited for sanctions includes Venezuela's poor human rights record, links with illegal drug trade, high levels of state corruption and electoral rigging[6]


Country Description

Persons who the US government alleges threaten international stabilisation in the Western Balkans and some states of the former Yugoslavia
 Belarus Certain persons the US government believes to be undermining democratic processes or institutions in Belarus (including President Alexander Lukashenko and other officials)
 Burundi Persons who the US government claims threaten peace, security, or stability in Burundi
 Central African Republic Persons the US government believes contribute to the conflict in the Central African Republic
 Democratic Republic of the Congo Certain persons the US government believes are 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 the US government believes have committed, or pose a significant risk of committing acts of violence that threaten the peace or stability of Iraq or the Government of Iraq or undermine efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq or make it more difficult for humanitarian workers to operate in Iraq.
 Lebanon Persons the US government believes undermine the sovereignty of Lebanon or its democratic processes and institutions
Libya/ Libya Persons associated with Muammar Gaddafi's regime
 Myanmar Officials associated with the Rohingya crisis[7]
 Nicaragua Persons associated with contributing to the 2018 Nicaraguan protests[8]
 Russia Persons believed to be responsible for the detention, abuse, and death of Sergei Magnitsky and other reported violations of human rights in Russia (see Magnitsky Act of 2012). Since 2014, International sanctions during the Ukrainian crisis, since 2017 Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act
 Somalia Certain persons the US government believes are contributing to the conflict in Somalia
 South Sudan Persons the US government alleges have contributed to the conflict in South Sudan or committed human rights abuses
( Crimea)
Persons the US government believes undermine 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 Vladimir Putin.
 Yemen Persons who the US government claims threaten peace, security, or stability in Yemen
 Zimbabwe Persons the US government believes undermine democratic processes or institutions in Zimbabwe, including a number of Government Officials

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 30 countries or territories: Afghanistan, Balkans,[9] Belarus, Burundi, Central African Republic, China (PR), Côte d'Ivoire, Crimea Region, Cuba, Cyprus, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Fiji, Haiti, Iran, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Myanmar, North Korea, Palestine, Russia, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen, Zimbabwe.[10][3][11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Haidar, Jamal Ibrahim (2016-08-16). "Sanctions and Exports Deflection: Evidence from Iran" (PDF). Paris School of Economics. Retrieved 2017-03-11.
  2. ^ "Chapter 3: State Sponsors of Terrorism". Country Reports on Terrorism 2009. United States Department of State. 2010-08-05. Retrieved 2017-03-11.
  3. ^ a b c "Sanctions Programs and Country Information". United States Department of the Treasury. 2017-03-09. Retrieved 2017-03-11.
  4. ^ "Iran Sanctions: Statement Relating to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action "Implementation Day" of January 16, 2016". United States Department of the Treasury. 2017-03-09. Retrieved 2017-03-11.
  5. ^ "United States Eases Sudan Sanctions - White & Case LLP International Law Firm, Global Law Practice". www.whitecase.com. Retrieved 5 October 2018.
  6. ^ a b Meredith, Sam (21 May 2018). "US likely to slap tough oil sanctions on Venezuela — and that's a 'game changer' for Maduro". Retrieved 5 October 2018.
  7. ^ News, A. B. C. (17 August 2018). "US sanctions Myanmar military over Rohingya ethnic cleansing". ABC News. Retrieved 5 October 2018.
  8. ^ CNN, Laura Koran,. "US slaps new sanctions on Nicaragua over violence, corruption". Retrieved 5 October 2018.
  9. ^ "Balkans: What You Need to Know About U.S. Sanctions". U.S. Department of the Treasury. 2003-05-29. Retrieved 2017-03-11.
  10. ^ "Country Policies and Embargoes". United States Department of State. 2017-01-24. Retrieved 2017-03-11.
  11. ^ "Export Controlled or Embargoed Countries, Entities and Persons". Stanford University. 2016-12-15. Retrieved 2017-03-11.

External links[edit]