State Department Updates

The State Department is imposing visa restrictions under the Immigration and Nationality Act Section 212(a)(3)(C) on Cuban officials responsible for certain exploitative and coercive labor practices as part of Cuba’s overseas medical missions program.  Profiting from the work of the Cuban doctors has been the decades-long practice of the Castros, and it continues today.  These practices include requiring long work hours without rest, meager wages, unsafe housing, and restricted movement. The regime has also withheld passports and surveilled some doctors outside of work.  In addition, the regime has also compelled some Cuban doctors to use medical care as a political tool by providing care in exchange for pledges of loyalty.

Any health program that coerces, endangers, and exploits its own practitioners is fundamentally flawed.  We call on governments that currently engage with Cuba’s overseas medical programs to ensure safeguards against labor abuse and exploitation.

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State Department press release

Today, the United States continues to take action in response to Russian attempts to influence U.S. democratic processes by imposing sanctions on four entities and seven individuals associated with the Internet Research Agency and its financier, Yevgeniy Prigozhin. This action increases pressure on Prigozhin by targeting his luxury assets, including three aircraft and a vessel.

Let this serve as a warning: any actors who continue to engage with these individuals, companies, aircraft, or vessel may also be subject to future sanctions. The U.S. government will continue to work to ensure that Prigozhin and others like him find no refuge or comfort as long as they carry out destabilizing activities that threaten the interests of the United States and its allies and partners.

We have been clear: We will not tolerate foreign interference in our elections.  The United States will continue to push back against malign actors who seek to subvert our democratic processes and we will not hesitate to impose further costs on Russia for its destabilizing and unacceptable activities. 

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State Department press release

The Department is publicly designating Raul Modesto Castro Ruz, the First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party and General of the Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces, under Section 7031(c) of the FY 2019 Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 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 government officials have been involved in significant corruption or a gross violation of human rights, 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 public designation of Raul Castro, the Department is also publicly designating his children, Alejandro Castro Espin, Deborah Castro Espin, Mariela Castro Espin, and Nilsa Castro Espin.

As First Secretary of the Cuban Communist Party, Raul Castro oversees a system that arbitrarily detains thousands of Cubans and currently holds more than 100 political prisoners.  As General of Cuba’s Armed Forces, Castro is responsible for Cuba’s actions to prop up the former Maduro regime in Venezuela through violence, intimidation, and repression.  In concert with Maduro’s military and intelligence officers, members of the Cuban security forces have been involved in gross human rights violations and abuses in Venezuela, including torture.  Castro is complicit in undermining Venezuela’s democracy and triggering the hemisphere’s largest humanitarian crisis, forcing 15 percent of the Venezuelan population to flee the country and precipitating a food shortage and health crisis of unprecedented scale in this region.

The United States strongly supports the rights of the Cuban and Venezuelan people.  We will continue to pursue all diplomatic and economic tools to help the Venezuelan people achieve the transition they deserve.

You have to wonder why the US government did this – they know it has minimal effect, if any. Is it just to show they’re being tough?

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State Department Press Release

“All nations have a duty to act.  No responsible government should subsidize Iran’s bloodlust.  As long as Iran’s menacing behavior continues, sanctions will not be lifted; they will be tightened.  Iran’s leaders will have turned a proud nation into just another cautionary tale of what happens when a ruling class abandons its people and embarks on a crusade for personal power and riches.”

– President Donald J. Trump, Remarks to the 74th Session of the UNGA, September 25

 

U.S. IMPOSES SANCTIONS ON CHINESE COMPANIES FOR TRANSPORTING IRANIAN OIL

“Today, U.S. imposed new sanctions against Chinese companies that transported Iranian oil contrary to U.S. sanctions, denying the #Iran regime revenues for destabilizing conduct at the expense of the Iranian people.  We will take action on any sanctionable Iranian oil transaction.”

– Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Twitter, September 25

 “You can count on America to lead; each nation can.  As President Trump said yesterday, ‘As long as Iran’s menacing behavior continues, sanctions will not be lifted, they will be tightened.’  That path forward begins now…We’re telling China and all nations, know that we will sanction every violation of sanctionable activity.”

– Secretary Pompeo, United Against Nuclear Iran’s 2019 Iran Summit, September 25

  • The United States is taking further action as part of our maximum economic pressure campaign against the Iranian regime and those who enable its destabilizing behavior. We are imposing sanctions on certain Chinese firms for knowingly engaging in a significant transaction for the transport of oil from Iran, including knowledge of sanctionable conduct, contrary to U.S. sanctions.

  • This is one of the largest sanctions actions the United States has taken against entities and individuals identified as transporting Iranian oil since our sanctions were re-imposed in November 2018. This action is aimed to deny the Iranian regime critical income to engage in foreign conflicts, advance its ballistic missile development, and fund terror around the world.

  • The following Chinese firms are sanctioned under E.O. 13846 for knowingly engaging in a significant transaction for the transport of oil from Iran: China Concord Petroleum Co., Limited, Kunlun Shipping Company Limited, Pegasus 88 Limited, and COSCO Shipping Tanker (Dalian) Seaman & Ship Management Co, Ltd. The United States is imposing additional sanctions on the following two Chinese companies, which own or control one or more of the four companies identified above, and had knowledge of their sanctionable conduct:  Kunlun Holding Company Ltd. and COSCO Shipping Tanker (Dalian) Co., Ltd.  The United States is also imposing sanctions on the following five individuals, who are executive officers of one or more of the six companies identified above:  Bin Xu, Yi Li, Yu Hua Mao, Luqian Shen, and Yazhou Xu.

IRANIAN REGIME ELITE AND FAMILIES CAN NO LONGER TRAVEL TO THE UNITED STATES

“Iran’s citizens deserve a government that cares about reducing poverty, ending corruption, and increasing jobs — not stealing their money to fund a massacre abroad and at home… It is time for Iran’s leaders to finally put the Iranian people first.”

– President Donald J. Trump, Remarks to the 74th Session of the UNGA, September 25 

“Yesterday, @realDonaldTrump barred the Iranian regime’s elites and their privileged families from entering the United States. They will no longer be allowed to enjoy America’s freedom & prosperity while orchestrating the oppression of the Iranian people.”

– Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Twitter, September 26

  • The President announced a Presidential Proclamation restricting entry into the United States for senior Iranian government officials and members of their families. Under this proclamation, designated senior regime officials and their families will no longer be allowed entry into the United States.  No longer will elites reap the benefits of a free society while the Iranian people suffer under the regime’s corruption and mismanagement.

  • This Presidential Proclamation is per the authority vested in the President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including sections 212(f) and 215(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) (8 U.S.C. 1182 (f) and 1185 (a)) and section 301 of title 3, United States Code.

I note from the title that the US has no weekend Iran policy…

Link:

State Department Fact Sheet

Today, the United States is taking further action as part of our maximum economic pressure campaign against the Iranian regime and those who enable its destabilizing behavior.  We are imposing sanctions on certain Chinese firms for knowingly engaging in a significant transaction for the transport of oil from Iran, including knowledge of sanctionable conduct, contrary to U.S. sanctions.  This is one of the largest sanctions actions the United States has taken against entities and individuals identified as transporting Iranian oil since our sanctions were re-imposed in November 2018.  This action is aimed to deny the Iranian regime critical income to engage in foreign conflicts, advance its ballistic missile development, and fund terror around the world.  We are committed to fully administering our sanctions; the Iranian regime must cease these destabilizing activities or face greater economic pressure and diplomatic isolation.

The following Chinese firms are sanctioned under E.O. 13846 for knowingly engaging in a significant transaction for the transport of oil from Iran: China Concord Petroleum Co., Limited, Kunlun Shipping Company Limited, Pegasus 88 Limited, and COSCO Shipping Tanker (Dalian) Seaman & Ship Management Co, Ltd.  The United States is imposing additional sanctions on the following two Chinese companies, which own or control one or more of the four companies identified above, and had knowledge of their sanctionable conduct:  Kunlun Holding Company Ltd. and COSCO Shipping Tanker (Dalian) Co., Ltd.  The United States is also imposing sanctions on the following five individuals, who are executive officers of one or more of the six companies identified above:  Bin Xu, Yi Li, Yu Hua Mao, Luqian Shen, and Yazhou Xu.  The transaction in question took place after the expiration of China’s Significant Reduction Exception (SRE) on May 2, 2019, and was not covered by that SRE.  This action targets the specific entities named today, and does not target their parent companies or any other entities in their corporate groups.

Among other things, the imposition of these sanctions blocks all property and interests in property of these Chinese entities that are in the United States or within the possession or control of a U.S. person, and provides that such property and interests in property may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in.  The United States is also imposing restrictions or bans on visas into the United States on the five individuals identified above.  Further, the Department of the Treasury will add these entities and individuals to its List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons.  Although this transaction involved the export of Iranian crude oil, we are similarly concerned with the export of refined oil products from Iran.

We are committed to holding the Iranian regime accountable, and we will continue to deny funding to this regime that uses its wealth and resources to enrich itself, while depriving the Iranian people of opportunity.  All entities must conduct appropriate due diligence to stay clear of sanctioned Iranian entities and sectors.  No company or nation should be willing to expose itself to the risk of sanction by possibly supporting Iran’s destabilizing activities around the world.

For more information, please go to:  https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Documents/iran_r_action_faq_0925019.pdf and https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/OFAC-Enforcement/Pages/20190925.aspx.

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State Department Press Release

The U.S. Department of State has concluded an administrative settlement with L3Harris Technologies, Inc. (L3Harris) of Melbourne, Florida, 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 L3Harris 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 L3Harris have reached an agreement pursuant to ITAR § 128.11 to address alleged unauthorized exports of defense articles, including technical data involving radios; providing a false statement regarding the promised payment of a commission; violating provisos, terms, and conditions of authorizations; and failing to properly manage temporary export licenses.

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.

Under the terms of the 36-month Consent Agreement, L3Harris will pay a civil penalty of $13 million.  The Department has agreed to suspend $6.5 million of this amount on the condition that the funds have or will be used for Department-approved Consent Agreement remedial compliance measures.  In addition, an external Special Compliance Officer will be engaged by L3Harris to oversee the Consent Agreement, which will also require the company to conduct two external audits of its compliance program during the Agreement term as well as implement additional compliance measures.

L3Harris voluntarily disclosed to the Department the majority of the alleged AECA and ITAR violations, which are resolved under this settlement.  L3Harris 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 L3Harris 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 the 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.

Link:

State Department Press Release

“The regime in #Iran is the world’s leading state sponsor of terror. The Trump administration’s maximum pressure campaign is working; the campaign will continue as long as the Iranian regime pursues its destabilizing behavior.”

– Department of State, Twitter, September 18

SECRETARY POMPEO MEETS WITH SAUDI CROWN PRINCE IN WAKE OF ABQAIQ-KHURAIS ATTACK

“Met with #Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman today to discuss the unprecedented attacks against Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure. The U.S. stands with #SaudiArabia and supports its right to defend itself. The Iranian regime’s threatening behavior will not be tolerated.”

– Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Twitter, September 18

  • Secretary Michael R. Pompeo met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud on September 18. The Secretary and the Crown Prince discussed the recent attacks by Iran against oil facilities in Saudi Arabia. The Secretary and the Crown Prince agreed that this was an unacceptable and unprecedented attack that not only threatened Saudi Arabian national security, but also endangered the world’s energy supply in general.

  • The Secretary and the Crown Prince discussed the need for the international community to come together to counter the continued threat of the Iranian regime and agreed that the Iranian regime must be held accountable for its continued reckless and threatening behavior.

  • Please see the press statement and remarks to the traveling press for more information.

U.S. SANCTIONS IRAN’S CENTRAL BANK, NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT FUND, AND ETEMAD TEJARAT PARS

“The U.S. has sanctioned Iran’s Central Bank and National Development Fund, both of which finance the regime’s terrorism. Attacking other nations and disrupting the global economy has a price. The regime must be held accountable through diplomatic isolation and economic pressure.”

– Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Twitter, September 20

  • In a failed attempt to disrupt the global economy, the Islamic Republic of Iran attacked the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. These aggressive attacks were sophisticated in their planning and brazen in their execution. Regardless of transparent attempts to shift blame, the evidence points to Iran—and only Iran. As a result, President Trump instructed his administration to substantially increase the already-historic sanctions on the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.

  • The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) took action against the Central Bank of Iran (CBI), the National Development Fund of Iran (NDF), and Etemad Tejarat Pars Co. under its counterterrorism authority, Executive Order (E.O.) 13224. Iran’s Central Bank has provided billions of dollars to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), its Qods Force (IRGC-QF) and its terrorist proxy, Hizballah.

  • This action targets the CBI for its financial support to the IRGC-QF and Hizballah. In May 2018, OFAC designated the CBI’s then-Governor Valiollah Seif, and the Assistant Director of the International Department Ali Tarzali, for facilitating financial transfers for the IRGC-QF and Hizballah. Also, in November 2018 and as part of Treasury’s disruption of an international oil-for-terror network, OFAC designated the CBI’s International Department Director Rasul Sajjad, and the CBI’s International Department Director, Hossein Yaghoobi, for conducting financial transactions for the IRGC-QF.

  • As a result of this action, all property and interests in property of these entities that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons must be blocked and reported to OFAC. OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all dealings by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of blocked or designated persons.

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

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Fact Sheet