State Department Updates

The Department of State has concluded an administrative settlement with AeroVironment, Inc. (AV) of Simi Valley, California, to resolve alleged violations of the Arms Export Control Act (AECA), 22 U.S.C. § 2751 et seq., and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), 22 C.F.R. Parts 120-130. The Department of State and AV have reached this settlement following an extensive compliance review by the Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance in the Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs.

The Department of State and AV have reached an agreement pursuant to ITAR § 128.11 to address alleged unauthorized exports of defense articles, including technical data; the failure to properly maintain records involving ITAR-controlled transactions; and violations of the provisos, terms, and conditions of export authorizations. The settlement demonstrates the Department’s role in strengthening U.S. industry by protecting U.S.-origin defense articles, including technical data from unauthorized exports. The settlement also highlights the importance of obtaining appropriate authorization from the Department for exporting controlled articles as well as maintaining proper records of such exports.

Under the terms of the twenty-four (24) month Consent Agreement, AV will pay a civil penalty of $1,000,000. The Department has agreed to suspend $500,000 of this amount on the condition that the funds have or will be used for Department-approved Consent Agreement remedial compliance measures. AV must also hire an outside Special Compliance Officer (SCO) for a term of one year and conduct an external audit to assess and improve its compliance program during the Consent Agreement term.

AV voluntarily disclosed to the Department the alleged AECA and ITAR violations, which are resolved under this settlement. AV also acknowledged the serious nature of the alleged violations, cooperated with the Department’s review, and instituted a number of compliance program improvements during the course of the Department’s review. For these reasons, the Department has determined that it is not appropriate to administratively debar AV at this time.

The Consent Agreement and related documents will be available for public inspection in the Public Reading Room of the Department of State and on Penalties and Oversights Agreements section of the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls’ website.

For additional information, please contact the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs’ Office of Congressional and Public Affairs at pm-cpa@state.gov.

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State Department Press Release

Today, the Department designates former Kenyan Attorney General Amos Sitswila Wako due to his involvement in significant corruption.  This designation is made under Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2019 (Div. F, P.L. 116-6), as carried forward by the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2020 (Div. A, P.L. 116-59).  Section 7031(c) provides that, in cases where the Secretary of State has credible information that officials of foreign governments have been involved in significant corruption, those individuals and their immediate family members are ineligible for entry into the United States.

The law also requires the Secretary of State to publicly or privately designate such officials and their immediate family members.  In addition to the designation of Mr. Wako, the Department is also publicly designating Wako’s wife, Flora Ngaira, and son, Julius Wako.

Today’s action sends a strong signal that the United States is a valuable partner in Kenya’s fight against corruption.  Economic prosperity for all Kenyans is only possible by defeating the scourge of corruption, which also requires a functional, fair, and transparent criminal justice system.  The United States will continue to stand with all Kenyans as they strive to curb and punish corruption in Kenya.

For more information, please contact INL-PAPD@state.gov.

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State Department Press Release

Today, the United States sanctioned nine individuals and organizations who were providing material support to the terrorist group ISIS in the Middle East and South Asia.  ISIS remains a threat to global security and stability, and the United States continues to work closely with the countries of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS (D-ISIS) to ensure we are protecting our people from this heinous terrorist group.

On November 14, 2019, the United States hosted a D-ISIS Small Group Ministerial to reaffirm our unity and common purpose in securing ISIS’ enduring defeat.  The work of the D-ISIS Coalition remains vitally important to these efforts and the ministerial exemplifies our commitment to maintaining pressure on ISIS, to destroying its remnants in Iraq and Syria, and to thwarting its global ambitions.

The United States has made significant progress in disrupting ISIS’ financial networks, and it will continue to adapt as ISIS looks for new ways to generate and move funds.  We will also work with our partners in the Counter ISIS Finance Group and the United Nations to nominate additional ISIS targets to the UN ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qa’ida Sanctions List.

For additional information, please refer to the Department of the Treasury:  https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm831 

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State Department Press Release

Today, I am announcing an update to the Cuba Restricted List to add five sub-entities owned by the Cuban military to the list of entities with which direct financial transactions are generally prohibited. On November 16th, Cuba commemorates Havana’s 500thanniversary. Havana was once one of the most dynamic and prosperous cities in the Americas. Far from being a celebration, this anniversary is instead a sad reminder of how the revolution continues to fail its people by commandeering Cuba’s economy, rather than reforming it to fulfill Cuba’s economic potential, and by forcefully silencing the voices of Cubans that continue the fight for freedom. The United States remains committed to ensuring U.S. funds do not directly support Cuba’s state security apparatus, which not only violates the human rights of the Cuban people, but also exports this repression to Venezuela to support the corrupt former Maduro regime.

In accordance with the June 2017 National Security Presidential Memorandum-5, “Strengthening the Policy of the United States Toward Cuba,” the U.S. government generally prohibits direct financial transactions with listed entities and sub-entities because they would disproportionately benefit the Cuban military, intelligence, and security services or personnel at the expense of the Cuban people or private enterprise in Cuba.

For more information on the regulations prohibiting direct financial transactions with entities and sub-entities on the Cuba Restricted List, please refer to the November 2017 regulatory amendments by the Departments of the Treasury (31 CFR part 515) and Commerce (15 CFR parts 730-774). The updated Cuba Restricted List can be found at https://www.state.gov/cuba-sanctions/cuba-restricted-list/.

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State Department Press Release

Today, the Department designates Owen Ncube under Section 7031(c) of the FY 2019 Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act (Div. F, P.L. 116-6), as carried forward by the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2020 (Div. A, P.L. 116-59) due to his involvement in gross violations of human rights.  Section 7031(c) provides that, in cases where the Secretary of State has credible information that foreign officials have been involved in significant corruption or a gross violation of human rights, those individuals are ineligible for entry into the United States and may be publically or privately designated as such by the Secretary of State.  The Department has credible information that Owen Ncube was involved in gross violations of human rights in his capacity as Zimbabwe’s Minister of State for National Security.

We are deeply troubled by the Zimbabwean government’s use of state-sanctioned violence against peaceful protestors, and civil society, as well as against labor leaders and members of the opposition leaders in Zimbabwe.  We urge the government to stop the violence, investigate, and hold accountable officials responsible for human rights violations and abuses in Zimbabwe.

U.S. sanctions target those who engage in corruption, violate human rights, and undermine democratic institutions or processes.  State-sanctioned violence creates a culture of impunity for human rights abusers. The United States continues to support the Zimbabwean people in need, especially through humanitarian and health assistance.  We will continue to press the Government of Zimbabwe to implement necessary political and economic reforms to provide Zimbabwean citizens the prosperity, security, and well-being they deserve.

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State Department Press Release

“While the regime’s decision to jail our diplomats has cast a 40-year shadow over our relations, the United States knows that the longest-suffering victims of the Iranian regime are the Iranian people. We wish nothing more for them than a future with a truly representative government and friendship with the American people.”

– Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, press statement, November 4

REWARDS FOR JUSTICE ANNOUNCES NEW REWARD FOR INFORMATION ON ROBERT LEVINSON

“The @realDonaldTrump Administration has made clear: the regime in Iran must release all missing and detained Americans, including @HelpBobLevinson, @FreeXiyueWang, @FreeTheNamazis, and others. We will not rest until they are reunited with their families.”

– Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, Twitter, November 4

  • The regime continues to unjustly detain Americans and to support terrorist proxy groups like Hizballah that engage in hostage taking.

  • The Trump Administration has made clear that the regime in Iran must release all missing and unjustly detained Americans, including Robert Levinson, Xiyue Wang, Siamak Namazi, and others. We will not rest until they are reunited with their families.

  • The U.S. Department of State’s Rewards for Justice Program is advertising a new reward of up to $20 million for information leading to the safe location, recovery, and return of Robert Levinson, who disappeared in Iran over a decade ago with the involvement of the Iranian regime. Levinson, who has been missing since 2007, is the longest case of this kind in U.S. history.

  • Please see the press statement and Rewards for Justice and for more information.

SECRETARY POMPEO ISSUES STATEMENT IN RESPONSE TO IRAN’S NUCLEAR ESCALATION

  • “Iran’s latest nuclear escalations reflect the regime’s intentions all along: to extort the international community into accepting its violence and terror while it undermines the sovereignty of its neighbors. Members of the international community who are rightly concerned with Iran’s latest attacks and provocations should imagine how Iran would behave with a nuclear weapon. The United States will never allow this to happen.”

  • “Iran’s expansion of proliferation-sensitive activities raises concerns that Iran is positioning itself to have the option of a rapid nuclear breakout. It is now time for all nations to reject this regime’s nuclear extortion and take serious steps to increase pressure. Iran’s continued and numerous nuclear provocations demand such action.”

– Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, press statement, November 7

TREASURY DESIGNATES SUPREME LEADER OF IRAN’S INNER CIRCLE RESPONSIBLE FOR ADVANCING REGIME’S DOMESTIC AND FOREIGN OPPRESSION

“@USTreasury designated 9 Iranian regime officials representing the unelected Supreme Leader whose office advances destabilizing policies around the world. The action blocks funds from flowing to a shadow network of his military and foreign affairs advisors who support terrorism.”

 State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus, Twitter, November 4

  • The U.S. Department of the Treasury took action against nine appointees and one entity representating the office of Ali Khamenei, the Iranian regime’s unelected Supreme Leader, whose office is responsible for advancing Iran’s radical agenda.

  • The designation seeks to block funds from flowing to a shadow network of Khamenei’s military and foreign affairs advisors who have oppressed the Iranian people, supported terrorism, and advanced destabilizing policies around the world for decades. The action specifically targets Ali Khamenei’s appointees in the Office of the Supreme Leader, the Expediency Council, the Armed Forces General Staff, and the Judiciary.

  • Two of the Supreme Leader’s appointees, who were sanctioned as part of this action have also been linked to the 1983 U.S. Marine barrack bombing in Beirut that killed 241 U.S. personnel and the 1994 bombing of Argentine Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA). As recently as October 2019, a representative of the Supreme Leader directly called on regional Iran-backed militias to capture Western embassies.

  • This action was taken pursuant to President Donald J. Trump’s Executive Order (E.O.) 13876, signed on June 24, 2019. The E.O. imposed sanctions on the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Supreme Leader’s Office (SLO), and authorized sanctions on others associated with the Supreme Leader or the SLO. These actions complement Treasury’s previous additions of Supreme Leader Khamenei and the Iranian regime’s Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif, to OFAC’s List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN List).

  • Please see the press statement and the Department of Treasury for more information.

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State Department Fact Sheet

On November 7, the United States, acting in support of the Nicaraguan people and their calls for a return to democratic governance, again demonstrated its commitment to use all economic and diplomatic tools to hold the Ortega regime accountable for human rights abuses and rampant corruption.

The United States has sanctioned key regime officials Roberto Jose Lopez Gomez, Ramon Antonio Avellan Medal, and Lumberto Ignacio Campbell Hooker pursuant to Executive Order 13851 (“Blocking Property of Certain Persons Contributing to the Situation in Nicaragua”). With this action, their U.S. assets are blocked and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with Lopez, Avellan, and Campbell.  Avellan was concurrently designated under the Nicaragua Human Rights and Anti-Corruption Act of 2018.

Avellan is Deputy Director General of the Nicaraguan National Police (NNP) and has been instrumental in maintaining Ortega’s control of the police and his parapolice counterparts, essential tools of the regime’s repression. The NNP conducts arbitrary arrests, extrajudicial executions, and disappearances of anti-government protesters. This campaign of repression by the NNP and parapolice under Avellan’s command has led to scores of deaths and hundreds more injured. Campbell is the Acting President of the Supreme Electoral Council and responsible for electoral manipulation in Ortega’s favor, ensuring Ortega and his allies prevail in elections through fraudulent means. Lopez is a retired Army officer and Director of the Nicaraguan Social Security Institute (INSS). He orchestrated President Ortega’s use of public retirement funds to reward loyalists and defraud Nicaraguans, in addition to employing INSS enforcement mechanisms to target political opponents.

The Ortega regime must cease its repression and respond to Nicaraguans’ call for genuinely free and fair elections that are both transparent and early. It is imperative the regime honor the commitments it has already made as part of negotiations with the Civic Alliance and under the Inter-American Democratic Charter. We call on Nicaragua to release – fully and unconditionally – all arbitrarily detained persons and to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms. The United States and the international community will continue to promote accountability for those who blatantly disregard human rights and foment violence in support of the Ortega regime.

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State Department Press Release