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Obama Orders Penalties on Syria, Iran Sanctions Evaders

U.S. President Barack Obama
Barack Obama, U.S. president, center. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

President Barack Obama signed an executive order today barring from the U.S. marketplace any person or entity that has helped Syria or Iran violate U.S. sanctions.

The move follows an April 23 executive order that sanctions companies that sell information technology such as tracking and monitoring programs that regimes such as Syria and Iran use to crack down on dissidents.

Existing sanctions forbid banks and large financial firms from moving Syrian or Iranian funds through the U.S. financial system. Today’s order lets the U.S. target smaller individuals and entities, such as exchange houses or trading companies.

They can be named and barred from the U.S. financial and commercial system if they either facilitate the movement of Syrian or Iranian funds through the U.S. or if they deceive others by hiding the involvement of the sanctioned entity.

A Treasury Department official, who briefed reporters under rules that prohibit using his name, said the new sanctions will allow the U.S. to reach evaders that were hard to hit under existing authorities.

Those who believe they are wrongly accused under the new order can challenge their designation at the Office of Foreign Assets Control or through the courts, the official said.

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