United States Sanctions on Iran after the Nuclear Deal

The Iran Nuclear Arms Deal is a landmark, but this deal has been heavily criticized due to the United States economic penalties toward Iran. The circumstances in Iran has put the United States in a difficult situation as they have had to rely on sanctions to deter Iranian actions, but Iran has complied with the deal and expects more of an economic boom. This has led other countries in Europe and Asia uncertain whether to deal in legal business with Iran due to United States laws in sanctions and financial regulations.

The Iran Nuclear Deal stated that Iran would sacrifice two-thirds of its ability to enrich uranium, which is used to make the core of a nuclear bomb, and to be monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).[1] Iran would agree to IAEA inspectors monitoring its nuclear plants and other facilities. Once the IAEA has confirmed that Iran has taken these steps, America would lift nuclear-related economic sanctions.[2] These sanctions include oil embargos and financial restrictions.[3] By lifting these economic sanctions, it was estimated $100 billion of frozen Iranian assets would be released. Iran would remain subject to a United Nations arms embargo for five years.[4]

The United States government has engaged in foreign trade with Iran even though it has forbidden most American commerce with Iran.[5] The United States implements sanctions through the Treasury Department Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).[6] These sanctions apply to United States companies, and anyone in the United States.[7] If companies in the Untied States were to trade with Iran they could be fined and prosecuted for civil violations that do not require a showing of intent or knowledge, and are punishable by heavy penalties.[8]

These sanctions and regulations have caused uncertainty for Asian and European government and companies doing legal business due to the fear of being prosecuted by the United States.[9] Since United States banks can not do business in Iran, there is a prohibition of transactions in dollars.[10] This is a large issue as it is a main business currency through the United States financial system.[11] This causes international banks hesitant in processing Iranian transactions, due to fear that the United States prosecuting these banks because of sanctions they have implemented in Iran.

Even though some sanctions have been lifted it is not clear what type of trading is still allowed with Iran.[12] Furthermore, Iran’s action in the area is seen as hostile. They continue to test ballistic missals.[13] The United States fears that these ballistic missals could be used one day to deliver a nuclear payload.[14] Even though these tests are not covered by the nuclear deal the United States has responded by placing sanctions on Iranian business and individuals but not on the nation.

United States sanctions upon Iran have caused fear of prosecution to business and banks that deal with Iran. This in some ways has caused Iran not to see the large economic boom they expected. Due to Iran’s continued ballistic testing in the area, and fear that these missals could one day carry a nuclear payload, the United States has sanctioned Iran even more. This causes the United States to be in a precarious situation as one of the reasons to the nuclear deal was to help Iran get its economy back on track, but at the same time the United States must implement sanctions on hostilities, and walking away from the deal would cause further destabilization in the area.


[1] David Blair, A Summary of the Iran Nuclear Deal, (Jul. 14, 2015), http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iran/11739214/A-summary-of-the-Iran-nuclear-deal.html

[2] Id.

[3] Id.

[4] Id.

[5] U.S. Census Bureau, Trade in Goods with Iran, (Dec. 12, 2015), https://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/balance/c5070.html

[6] Alacra Compliance Primer, Enforcement Actions for U.S. Sanctions Violations Offer Lessons for Compliance, (Sept. 14, 2014), https://www.alacra.com/alacra/help/alacracomplianceprimer3.pdf

[7] Id.

[8] Id.

[9] Matthew Lee, Analysis: Iran Nuclear Deal Puts U.S. in Bind Amid Criticism, (Apr. 11, 2016), http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/analysis-iran-nuclear-deal-puts-us-bind-amid-38301740


[10] PRESSTV, Banks still afraid of US fines to process Iran deals, (Mar. 23, 2016), http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2016/03/23/457187/Banks-still-afraid-of-US-fines-to-process-Iran-deals/

[11] Id.

[12] Tom Arnold and Jonathan Saul, Iranians Exasperated as U.S. sanctions frustrate deal making, (Mar. 22, 2016), http://www.reuters.com/article/us-iran-trade-finance-idUSKCN0WO1Y3

[13] Fox News, Iran to US: Missile Program “not open to negotiation,(Apr. 10, 2016), http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/04/10/iran-says-missile-program-is-not-negotiable.html

[14] Id.

Hispanic Vote Plays Important Role in Midterm Elections

As we discussed last week here on the NSLB blog, the Hispanic voting population was in a position to significantly impact the outcome of the recent U.S. midterm elections. Although the results of last week’s elections seem to indicate that Republicans fared better than Democrats overall, Hispanic voters nevertheless played a crucial role in several victories for each party.

In Nevada, Senator Harry Reid won reelection despite intense criticism and public campaigns intended to unseat him. Reid’s victory has been attributed to many factors, not the least of which is the outpouring of support he received from the Hispanic community. According to Matt Barreto from Latino Decisions, the support of the Hispanic population was “absolutely the reason Harry Reid won.”

However, Nevada was not the only state where the Hispanic vote appears to have played a major role in the outcome. On the other end of the political spectrum, Republicans welcomed several Hispanic politicians to their list of electoral winners. For instance, Florida elected Marco Rubio to the Senate, and Texans voted in two new representatives, Francisco Canseco and Bill Flores.

Spanish-Language Television Campaigns Encourage Hispanics to Vote

This week Telemundo aired segments of its “Tu Voto, Tu Futuro” (Your Vote, Your Future) campaign, and Univision recently started a similar campaign in conjunction with the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials.

U.S. immigration law continues to be one of the most important issues for Hispanic voters, who could play a decisive role in several midterm elections. For instance, there are competitive races in Arizona, California, Texas and Florida, all of which possess significant Hispanic populations.

Despite the perception that these television campaigns are partisan, both networks have emphasized that their goal is to provide an education role in order to encourage civic participation. In the last midterm election (2006), approximately 60% of registered Hispanic voters actually cast a ballot, while roughly 71.5% of all other voters made it to the polls.

U.S. Immigration Officials Improve Security for Green Cards and Naturalization Certificates

American immigration officials announced this week that they will be implementing additional security measures for naturalization certificates as well as green cards (the identification card for immigrants who are classified as permanent residents).

The enhanced security measures for the green cards include laser-engraved fingerprints and individualized holographic photos. Simultaneously, the new computerized naturalization certificates will include ink patterns that are more difficult to forge or duplicate.

These new security features are intended to prevent fraudulent activity often associated with green cards and the naturalization process. According to the director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Alejandro Mayorkas, the security changes will be “very significant.” He also pointed out that the templates for green cards have not been updated since 1998, and the 2003 naturalization certificate update did not include any security measures.

U.S. Nuclear Policy Modified

The United States recently announced a revised nuclear policy which greatly implicates international affairs and national security. Perhaps one of the most notable revisions prohibits the use of nuclear weapons in response to any conventional, biological or chemical attack, provided that the aggressor is a non-nuclear state or abides by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The revised nuclear policy of the United States is also meant to encourage Russia to continue negotiations with the U.S. regarding the reduction of nuclear weapons stockpiles. The Senate has ratified the new Start arms reduction treaty, yet Russia has hesitated to co-operate, citing the potential threat of a U.S. missile defense system. Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, stated that “Russia will have the right to abandon the Start treaty if a quantitative and qualitative buildup of the US strategic anti-missile potential begins to significantly affect the efficiency of Russia’s strategic nuclear forces.”