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Fact Sheet: New Sanctions on Iran

U.S. Department of the Treasury / www.treasury.gov

11/21/2011 - Today, the United States is taking a series of actions to confront the threat posed by Iran and significantly increase pressure on Iran to comply with the full range of its international obligations and to address the international community’s longstanding concerns regarding its nuclear program. These steps include: expanding sanctions to target the supply of goods, services, technology, or support (above certain monetary thresholds) to Iran for the development of its petroleum resources and maintenance or expansion of its petrochemical industry; designating eleven individuals and entities under Executive Order 13382 for their role in Iran’s WMD program; and identifying the Islamic Republic of Iran as a jurisdiction of “primary money laundering concern” under section 311 of the USA PATRIOT Act.

These actions underscore the Administration’s continued strong commitment – particularly in light of the IAEA Director General’s most recent report – to hold the Iranian regime accountable for its refusal to comply with its international obligations regarding its nuclear program. The Administration is also sending an unequivocal message to the Government of Iran today that it will continue to face increasing international pressure until it addresses the international community’s legitimate concerns regarding the nature of Iran’s nuclear program.

New Sanctions under Executive Order (E.O.) 13590:

On November 19, President Obama signed E.O. 13590, which significantly expands existing energy-related sanctions on Iran to authorize sanctions on persons that knowingly provide:

1. Goods, Services, Technology, or Support for the Development of Petroleum Resources:

  • The sale, lease, or provision of goods, services, technology, or support to Iran that could directly and significantly contribute to the enhancement of Iran’s ability to develop petroleum resources located in Iran could trigger sanctions if a single transaction has a fair market value of $1 million or more, or if a series of transactions from the same entity have a fair market value of $5 million or more in a 12-month period.

2. Goods, Services, Technology, or Support for the Maintenance or Expansion of the Petrochemical Sector:

  • The sale, lease, or provision of goods, services, technology, or support to Iran that could directly and significantly facilitate the maintenance or expansion of its domestic production of petrochemical products could trigger sanctions if a single transaction has a fair market value of $250,000 or more, or if a series of transactions from the same entity have a fair market value of $1 million or more in a 12-month period.

If a person is found to have provided a good, service, technology, or support described in E.O. 13590, the Secretary of State, in consultation with other agencies, has the authority to impose sanctions, including prohibitions on: foreign exchange transactions; banking transactions; property transactions in the United States; U.S. Export-Import Bank financing; U.S. export licenses; imports into the United States; loans of more than $10 million from U.S. financial institutions; U.S. government procurement contracts; and, for financial institutions, designation as a primary dealer or repository of U.S. government funds.

Designation of Entities under E.O. 13382:

The U.S. Department of State has designated the Nuclear Reactors Fuel Company, Noor Afzar Gostar Company, Fulmen Group, and Yasa Part under E.O. 13382 for their role in Iran’s nuclear procurement networks. They support a variety of Iran’s proscribed nuclear procurement activities, including centrifuge development, heavy water research reactor activities, and uranium enrichment.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury also has designated Javad Rahiqi, Modern Industries Technique Company (MITEC), Neka Novin, Parto Sanat, Paya Partov, Simatic, and the Iran Centrifuge Technology Company (TESA) under E.O. 13382. These entities are linked to the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), which is a key actor in Iran’s nuclear program as the main Iranian organization for research and development activities in the field of nuclear technology, including Iran’s centrifuge enrichment program and experimental laser enrichment of uranium program. The AEOI was listed in the Annex to E.O. 13382 and has been sanctioned by the United Nations in Security Council resolution 1737.

E.O. 13382 blocks the assets under U.S. jurisdiction of the designated persons and prohibits U.S. persons from engaging in transactions involving them.

To view the complete list of designations under E.O. 13382, visit link.

Identification of the Islamic Republic of Iran as a Jurisdiction of “Primary Money Laundering Concern” Under Section 311 of the USA PATRIOT Act:

The U.S. Department of the Treasury identified the Islamic Republic of Iran as a jurisdiction of primary money laundering concern under Section 311 of the USA PATRIOT Act (Section 311) based on Iran’s support for terrorism; pursuit of weapons of mass destruction (WMD); reliance on state-owned or controlled agencies to facilitate WMD proliferation; and the illicit and deceptive financial activities that Iranian financial institutions – including the Central Bank of Iran – and other state-controlled entities engage in to facilitate Iran’s illicit conduct and evade sanctions.

In issuing today’s Finding, Treasury has for the first time identified the entire Iranian financial sector; including Iran’s Central Bank, private Iranian banks, and branches, and subsidiaries of Iranian banks operating outside of Iran as posing illicit finance risks for the global financial system.

The Finding also creates a clear public record of the scope and depth of Iran’s illicit conduct, detailing the involvement of Iranian government agencies and banking institutions in WMD proliferation, support for terrorism, and other illicit conduct. In particular, the Finding includes new information about the Central Bank of Iran’s role in facilitating Iran’s illicit conduct and Iran’s efforts to evade international sanctions.

Today’s action reinforces U.S. and international sanctions already in place against Iran and provides greater certainty that the U.S. financial system is protected from Iranian illicit activity.

Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) also today filed a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM), in which it proposes imposing a special measure against Iran. While current U.S. regulations already generally prohibit U.S. financial institutions from engaging in both direct and indirect transactions with Iranian financial institutions, this action would require U.S. financial institutions to implement additional due diligence measures in order to prevent any improper indirect access by Iranian banking institutions to U.S. correspondent accounts.


U.S. Loses WTO Challenge to Origin Labeling Rules for Agricultural Products

Sandler Travis & Rosenberg PA / www.strtrade.com

As expected, a World Trade Organization dispute settlement panel recently made public a final decision that finds that the U.S. mandatory country of origin labeling requirements for various agricultural products are inconsistent with U.S. multilateral obligations.

The 2008 Farm Bill revised previous mandatory COOL requirements to provide that in order for a commodity to be labeled as a product of the U.S. all production activities associated with the commodity have to occur on U.S. soil or in U.S. waters. For products produced in the integrated North American marketplace, the label must indicate every country in which a stage of production has taken place. The 2008 Farm Bill also imposed mandatory COOL requirements for muscle cuts and ground beef, pork, lamb, goat, and chicken, wild and farm-raised fish and shellfish, fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables, peanuts, pecans, macadamia nuts and ginseng.

Canada and Mexico alleged that these provisions appear to be inconsistent with the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 as well as certain provisions of the WTO agreements on Technical Barriers to Trade, the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, and Rules of Origin. Among other things, the panel found that the COOL requirements violate (i) Article 2.1 of the TBT Agreement (particularly in regard to the muscle cut meat labels) because they afford imported livestock treatment less favorable than that accorded to like domestic livestock, and (ii) Article 2.2 of the TBT Agreement because they do not fulfill the objective of providing consumer information on origin with respect to meat products. In addition, the panel found that a Feb. 20, 2009, letter by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to industry representatives violates Article X:3(a) of the GATT 1994 because it does not constitute a reasonable administration of the COOL measure.

Canadian Minister of International Trade Ed Fast indicated that the panel decision “recognizes the integrated nature of the North American supply chain” in a “vitally important industry.” Fast believes that the elimination of the COOL requirements will “improve competitiveness, boost growth and help strengthen the prosperity of Canadian and American producers alike.” By contrast, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative argued that even though the panel disagreed with the way the U.S. designed the COOL requirements it affirmed the U.S. right to require country of origin labeling for meat products. The USTR expressed its commitment to provide consumers "accurate and relevant information with respect to the origin of meat products that they buy at the retail level” and said that it is considering all options, including filing an appeal with the WTO Appellate Body.

Source Document 1...


Toys Safer This Holiday Season Due to Stronger Safety Rules

Recalls and lead violations are down; 180,000 child injuries per year is too high

Consumer Product Safety Commission / www.cpsc.gov

WASHINGTON, D.C. - It's that time of year again, when parents, grandparents, and friends begin to prepare holiday toy shopping lists. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) wants consumers to know that while safety should be at the top of everyone's toy list, stronger federal rules are making a positive impact and restoring confidence in the safety of toys.

New toy safeguards include: establishing the lowest lead content and lead paint limits in the world; setting a stringent limit on the use of certain phthalates; converting the voluntary toy standards into mandatory standards; requiring third party testing and certification of toys designed or intended primarily for children 12 and younger; closing in on new limits for cadmium in toys; and working with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to track shipments in transit from other countries, thereby increasing seizure of dangerous imported toys.

These safeguards, along with safety-conscious steps taken by many toy makers and sellers, have contributed to a continued decline in toy recalls since 2008. There were 34 toy recalls in fiscal year 2011. This is down from 46 toy recalls in fiscal year 2010, 50 recalls in 2009, and 172 recalls in 2008. In 2011, toy recalls related to lead declined to 4, down from 19 in 2008.

"Strong toy standards support the production of safer toys in the marketplace," said Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. "Parents and toy shoppers also always need to be vigilant by choosing age appropriate toys and keeping small parts, balls, and balloons out of the hands of young children."

Toy-related deaths to children younger than 15 increased to 17 fatalities reported in 2010, up from 15 reported in 2009. Nearly half of these toy-related fatalities were attributed to choking on balloons, small balls, and rubber balls.

A new report (pdf) released by CPSC today also notes that about 181,500 children younger than 15 years of age were treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments due to toy-related injuries in 2010. Nonmotorized scooters continued to be the category of toys associated with the most injuries. Frequently these injuries involved lacerations, contusions, and abrasions to the child's face and head. Importantly many of the incidents were associated with, but not necessarily caused by, a toy.

Here are some safety steps that consumers can take while shopping this holiday season:

  • Balloons - Children can choke or suffocate on deflated or broken balloons. Keep deflated balloons away from children younger than 8 years old. Discard broken balloons at once.
  • Small balls and other toys with small parts - For children younger than age 3, avoid toys with small parts, which can cause choking.
  • Scooters and other riding toys - Riding toys, skateboards, and in-line skates go fast, and falls could be deadly. Helmets and safety gear should be worn properly at all times, and they should be sized to fit.
  • Magnets - For children under age 6, avoid building or play sets with small magnets. If magnets or pieces with magnets are swallowed, serious injuries and/or death can occur.

Once the gifts are open:

  • Immediately discard plastic wrappings or other packaging on toys before they become dangerous play things.
  • Keep toys appropriate for older children away from younger siblings.
  • Charging batteries should be supervised by adults. Chargers and adapters can pose thermal burn hazards to young children. Pay attention to instructions and warnings on battery chargers. Some chargers lack any mechanism to prevent overcharging.

Along with educating the public, CPSC is committed to working with foreign and domestic toy manufacturers, importers, and retailers to help them understand and comply with U.S. toy requirements.


DOT Fines Spirit Airlines for Violating Price Advertising Rules

Department of Transportation / www.dot.gov

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) today fined Spirit Airlines $50,000 for violating federal aviation laws and the Department’s rules prohibiting deceptive price advertising in air travel.

“Consumers have a right to know the full price they will be paying when they buy an airline ticket,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “We expect airlines to treat their passengers fairly, and we will take enforcement action when they violate our price advertising rules.”

DOT rules require any advertising that includes a price for air transportation to state the full price to be paid by the consumer, including all carrier-imposed surcharges. The only exceptions currently allowed are government-imposed taxes and fees that are assessed on a per-passenger basis, such as passenger facility charges, which may be stated separately from the advertised fare but must be clearly disclosed in the advertisement so that passengers can easily determine the full price they must pay. Internet fare listings may disclose these separate taxes and fees through a prominent link next to the fare stating that government taxes and fees are extra, and the link must take the viewer directly to information where the type and amount of taxes and fees are displayed. In print advertisements, including billboards and posters, an asterisk or other symbol placed next to the advertised fare may refer the reader to the bottom of the advertisement where the type and amount of the fees may be stated separately, in type large enough so that passing consumers can read the information. In addition, if carriers advertise an each-way fare that is available only if the consumer purchases a roundtrip ticket, the advertisements must clearly and conspicuously state the roundtrip purchase requirement.

For a period of time in June 2011, Spirit used billboards and hand-held posters to advertise new service from Los Angeles that contained an asterisk next to the advertised fare. On the billboards, the asterisk led to small print which stated that additional taxes, fees and conditions would apply, but did not disclose the amount of those taxes and fees. The posters did not include any information about the taxes and fees or their amounts.

In addition, Spirit sent Twitter feeds announcing $9 each-way fares. A consumer who clicked on the link that was provided was taken to a page on Spirit’s website where the carrier disclosed for the first time that these fares did not include all taxes and fees, and that they were subject to a roundtrip purchase requirement. Only after clicking on a second link, which took readers to the bottom of the page, was the amount of additional taxes and fees disclosed.

Under DOT’s recently adopted consumer rule that enhances protections for air travelers, carriers will be required, among other things, to include all government taxes and fees in every advertised fare beginning Jan. 24, 2012

The consent order is available on the Internet at www.regulations.gov, docket DOT-OST-2011-0003.


CBP Officers at Hidalgo International Bridge Seize 12 Pounds Methamphetamine-Two Females Arrested
U.S. Customs & Border Protection / www.cbp.gov

Hidalgo, Texas — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Hidalgo/Reynosa International Bridge seized approximately 12 pounds of alleged methamphetamine on Tuesday. The estimated street value of the methamphetamine is $179,000.

On November 15, a beige 1999 Chevrolet pickup occupied by two females arrived at the Hidalgo International Bridge. The driver, a 54-year-old U.S. citizen from Edinburg, Texas, and passenger, a Mexican citizen, 61, from San Juan, Texas, were referred to secondary for further inspection. In secondary, CBP officers found and seized 10 packages of alleged methamphetamine that were concealed in the pockets of the shorts they were wearing under their skirts. Each female had five packages for a combined weight of approximately 11.95 pounds of the narcotics. CBP officers seized the vehicle as well.

The women were both transferred to the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations (ICD-HSI) for further investigation.

Efrain Solis Jr., Port Director, Hidalgo/Pharr said, “This seizure of hard narcotics is an excellent example of the keen observational techniques our officers possess. Noticing inconsistencies and learning to read people’s body expressions are fundamentals that our officers learn and develop extremely well. These narcotics were kept off our streets and ultimately our communities are safer.”

 
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