Friday, August 3, 2012
News reports indicate that the United States Congress voted yesterday to authorize the extension of the U.S. sanctions program on Myanmar (Burma) for one year with the possibility of extension for up to three more years. The bill will now go to President Obama for signature. Congress will revisit the sanctions in one year's time to determine whether Myanmar has made sufficient progress towards democracy and respect for human rights. The bill also gives the President the ability to lift the sanctions earlier if Myanmar has made sufficient progress in those areas.
President Obama also announced two new sanctions on Iran yesterday to increase pressure on Iran to stop the development of its nuclear program. The sanctions are aimed at plugging gaps in the current sanctions program that Iran has exploited to sell its oil abroad. The sanctions make it more difficult for Iran to arrange payment mechanisms. They also target Chinese and Iraqi banks that allegedly facilitiated payments in violation of the sanctions program.