Sunday, August 12, 2012
Last week, the United States Treasury Department announced that it has designated Hezbollah for its support of the Assad regime in Syria in connection with its violent crackdown against protestors. The designation has little practical impact, however. Hezbollah was already on the designated terrorist list, so its assets have been frozen for many years already.
The US Treasury Dept. also announced that it is imposing sanctions on the Syrian state-run oil company Sytrol under the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA), as amended by the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act (CISADA), for conducting business with Iran’s energy sector. According to the US government, in April of this year, Syria and Iran engaged in two-way trade in the energy sector, in which Syria sent 33,000 metric tons of gasoline to Iran. The United States has determined that the value of the gasoline delivered by Sytrol to Iran in April was over $36 million, significantly exceeding the monetary thresholds for triggering sanctions under this law ($1 million threshold for individual transactions and the $5 million threshold for multiple transactions within a twelve-month period under U.S. law). The US government believes that this kind of trade allows Iran to continue developing its nuclear program while providing the Syrian government with resources to oppress its own people.