Monthly Archives: June 2015

June 30, 2015

There Are No Sacred Dates

by Jeremy Paner

As former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin sagely explained during negotiations with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in the mid-90’s, “there are no sacred dates.”  Ironically, earlier this month an Iranian negotiator channeled the late Israeli leader in comments about the impending deadline of the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA): “if we need a few extra days it’s not important because there are no sacred dates.” Earlier today, the negotiations between the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany) and Iran were given “a few extra days” to work towards potential finalization of a framework for an agreement that was set to expire today.

Following press reports last night that an agreement would not be reached in time, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and U.S. Department of State released a statement providing guidance on the extension of the JPOA through July 7. This brief statement provides guidance on the extension of the “JPOA Relief Period” and certain specific licenses related to the safety of Iranian civil aviation through July 7. Continue reading

June 22, 2015

OFAC Penalty for Iran Sanctions Violations Raises Questions Regarding Egregiousness Determination

by Jeremy Paner

Last Friday, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced a settlement with John Bean Technology Corporation (JBT) of apparent violations of sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL). OFAC designated IRISL in September 2008 under its counter-proliferation authority for providing support to  Iran’s Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL). Under the agreement, JBT will pay $391,950 for its sanctions violations.

The violations center around an April 2009 shipment of  $2,897,936 worth of goods from Spain to China by IRISL. An unnamed U.S. bank rejected the trade documents for this shipment after refusing to serve as the advising bank on the underlying letter of credit. After receiving a license from OFAC to do so, the U.S. bank returned the trade documents for this shipment. Following this rejection, JBT presented the trade documents to Banco Santander for payment. Later, JBT paid JBT AeroTech Spain $164,470 for payment it had made for IRISL and Banco Santander services.   Continue reading

June 18, 2015

The National Bank of Pakistan Settles Iranian Terrorism Sanctions Violations Involving Kyrgyzstani Airline

by Jeremy Paner

Today, OFAC announced a settlement of apparent violations of U.S. sanctions imposed on an Iranian terrorism support network. This enforcement action demonstrates the broad reach of terrorism sanctions placed on Iran. The U.S. Treasury Department has warned that these terrorism sanctions will remain in place against Iran regardless of any potential lifting of “nuclear-related sanctions.”  As the Acting Under Secretary of the Treasury explained to a Congressional Committee, “even if we are able to secure a nuclear deal with Iran, the United States will continue to counter Iran’s support for terrorism, its commission of human rights abuses, and its destabilizing activities throughout the Middle East, including through the active use of our financial tools.”

According to the OFAC announcement for this settlement, between June 6, 2013 and January 31, 2014, the New York branch of the National Bank of Pakistan processed seven funds transfers for which Kyrgyz Trans Avia was either the originator or beneficiary. The National Bank of Pakistan’s U.S. branch should have blocked these transfers and filed a report with OFAC. Continue reading

June 11, 2015

Treasury Targets Lebanese Hizballah Support Network

by Jeremy Paner

For the second time in the past three weeks, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) targeted Iranian supported terrorism. Even without reference to the word “Iran” in the press release announcing today’s designations, this action against three individuals and four companies is a clear indication that OFAC will continue to expose Iranian terrorism. In the quote that accompanies all designation press release announcements, Adam Szubin, Acting Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence stated “the United States will pursue any individual or company that support’s Hizballah activities.” This pursuit will always ultimately lead back to Iran.

Hizballah is the Shia Islamist terrorist organization that serves as Iran’s proxy in Lebanon, as well as throughout the continents of South America and Africa. It is designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) and a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT). Prior to the September 11 attacks, Hizballah murdered more United States citizens than any other international terrorist organization. In 1983 this group murdered 241 Americans and 58 French Paratroopers in an event known as the Beirut Barracks Bombings.

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June 8, 2015

And Then There Were Three – The U.S. Department of State Removes Cuba from the State Sponsor of Terrorism List

by Jeremy Paner

The U.S. Department of State announced today that it removed Cuba from its list of State Sponsors of Terrorism. This removal followed a review of the designation criteria[1] and the submission of a report certifying that the Cuban government has not provided any support for international terrorism during the preceding six-month period, and that the Cuban government has provided assurances that it will not support acts of international terrorism in the future. Following today’s removal of Cuba, the list is limited to Iran, Syria, and Sudan.

Sanctions resulting from designation as a  State Sponsor of Terrorism include prohibitions on U.S. foreign assistance, a ban on defense exports and sales, controls on exports of dual-use items, and miscellaneous financial prohibitions. These include a requirement to actively oppose World Bank and International Monetary Fund loans, and prohibit financial transactions through U.S. banks.

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June 1, 2015

The Office of Foreign Assets Control Designates Peruvian Terrorist Group and its Leaders as Significant Narcotics Traffickers

by Jeremy Paner

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated the Peruvian Narco-Terrorist group, the Shining Path (a.k.a. Sendero Luminoso) and three of its leaders as significant narcotics traffickers pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act. These designations follow the July 2014 indictment of these narco-terrorists by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York for Conspiracy to Provide Material Support to a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) and for Narco-Terrorism Conspiracy in violation of 21 U.S.C. 960a. The State Department added this group to its list of FTOs in 1997 and it has been on the Specially Designated Nationals List (the SDN List, commonly referred to as the OFAC list) as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist since 2011.

It is important to note that section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (the FTO designation authority) does not grant authority to designate support networks or business owned by listed terrorist organizations. Although Executive Order 13224 (the Specially Designated Global Terrorist authority) allows for OFAC to designate these networks, Treasury has not exercised this authority for a variety of reasons. This is due in part to the perception within the U.S. government that intelligence gathered on terrorist groups is far more sensitive than information relating to narcotics trafficking activities.

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