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Thursday, March 08, 2007

Ohio Dealing With Iran? Feds Take The Trade Embargo Seriously

CINCINNATI (TDB) -- A businessman in neighboring Kentucky learned the hard way last year that the U.S. government takes its Iranian trade embargo extremely seriously. President Ronald Reagan imposed sanctions on Oct. 29, 1987 that restricted Iranian-linked goods and services, and his own administration was rocked by the Iran-Contra scandal over a backdoor effort to trade missiles for hostages.

Reagan's Executive Order 12613 resulted from Iran's support of international terrorism, and it was followed by two others during President Bill Clinton's administration that tightened the trade restrictions. Now we hear that two Ohio legislators are worried that the State of Ohio has investments in Iran. Would this be a grab for a cheap headline?

The U.S. Treasury Department's fact-sheet for American businesses makes it clear that since August 1997 "virtually all trade and investment activities by U.S. persons, wherever located, are prohibited."

And the sanctions have teeth: "Corporate criminal penalties for violations of the Iranian Transactions Regulations can range up to $500,000, with individual penalties of up to $250,000 and 20 years in jail. Civil penalties of up to $50,000 may also be imposed administratively."

About the only Iranian imports allowed are carpets, dried fruits, nuts and caviar.

HERE is the full-text of the fact sheet "What You Need to Know About U.S. Economic Sanctions," which is published by the Treasury's office of foreign assets control.

H/T to Buckeye State Blog for baring the news that two Ohio lawmakers are worried that Ohio may have somehow, someway found a loophole in the sanctions. But the federal law looks pretty solid because the Treasury Department explains, "The ban on providing services includes any brokering function from the United States or by U.S. persons, wherever located."

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