On Friday Jul 3rd, 22 senior Myanmar officials and family members were hit with sanctions from the Biden administration. The US sanctions come as a result of the Burmese military government’s crackdown on democracy protests after the Feb 1st coup.
Also, in a surprisingly simultaneous move, the Biden administration removed sanctions on three Iranian industrial executives.
The announcement on both the moves came from the US Treasury. The sanctions are against seven members of the Myanmar military. They also cover 15 spouses and adult children of previously sanctioned officials. This is part of the US response to the February coup and subsequent violence against demonstrators in Myanmar.
Details of the Treasury announcement
The announcement said “The military’s suppression of democracy and campaign of brutal violence against the people of Burma are unacceptable.”
“The United States will continue to impose increasing costs on Burma’s military and promote accountability for those responsible for the military coup and ongoing violence, including by targeting sources of revenue for the military and its leaders.”
Affected Burmese ministers and officials
The following 4 ministers are amongst other Burmese officials hit by the sanctions:
Thet Thet Khine, Minister of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement
Myint Kyaing, Minister for Labor, Immigration and Population
Aung Naing Oo, Minister for Investment and Foreign Economic Relations
Chit Naing, Minister for Information
Targeted along with the ministers are three members of the Burmese State Administrative Council. The junta set up the council after the coup.
The sanctions freeze any assets the ministers or council members hold, or any companies they own in US jurisdictions. Similarly, the US government bars Americans from doing business with these officials and their companies.
Sanctions lifted on three Iranians
The previous Trump administration placed the sanctions on the three Iranians in September 2020. They are Behzad Daniel Ferdows, Mehrzad Manuel Ferdows and Mohammed Reza Dezfulian. The former Iranian government officials received the sanctions as a penalty for their support towards Iran’s ballistic missile program.
The sanctions were in relation to the three Iranians working with the Mammut Industrial Group and affiliated company, Mammut Diesel. At that time, the US Treasury said they were “key producers and suppliers of military-grade, dual-use goods for Iran’s missile programs.”
The US Treasury did not give an explanation for the lifting of sanctions on the three Iranians. However, administration officials said previous removals were only based on targets that no longer met the criteria for the penalties. Those targeted in the past, do not have connections to indirect negotiations on salvaging the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Former President Donald Trump withdrew the US from this deal in 2018.
Sanctions against ICC prosecutors and staff also revoked
Also on Friday, the Treasury issued a final rule revoking Trump-era sanctions against International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutors and staff. The rule will take effect on July 6th after its formal publication in the Federal Register. Publishing the final rule is mainly a measure for good housekeeping. This completes President Joe Biden’s Apr 1st revocation of Trump’s authorisation to impose sanctions on ICC officials. All the officials were investigating war crimes by US citizens.
Trump’s authority was the basis for former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hitting the now ex-chief ICC prosecutor and a top aide with sanctions. The current Secretary of State Antony Blinken, lifted Pompeo’s sanctions. The lifting of the sanction was a result of Biden’s announcement.
“Although the United States continues to object to the ICC’s assertions of jurisdiction over personnel of such non-States Parties as the United States and its allies absent their consent or referral by the United Nations Security Council, the threat and imposition of financial sanctions against the ICC, its personnel, and those who assist it are not an effective or appropriate strategy for addressing the United States’ concerns with the ICC,” Treasury said.
3rd July 2021 23:00
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