Sanctions Top-5 for the week ending 12 February 2021

Here are five things that happened this week in the world of economic sanctions that I think you should know about.

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(This week’s briefing covers the weeks ending 12 February and 5 February 2021.)

  1. The first new sanctions program of the Biden era is here, and it’s Myanmar. The White House issued Executive Order 14014 authorizing sanctions on a wide range of targets in response to the military coup on 1 February 2021. The US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) named ten individuals and three entities as Specially Designated Nationals (SDNs) under the order, while the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) announced new licensing requirements for some exports to Myanmar. (For more information, read my team’s blog post here.)


Plus ça change, non? Support for new Myanmar-related sanctions was already pretty high as a result of Rohingya crisis. With the military back in control, OFAC’s designations last week are unlikely to be the last. For some thoughts on how things could develop, check out this op-ed in The Hill by George Lopez and David Cortright with ideas on how the US government could build international support for sanctions and other measures targeting Myanmar’s military. “[T]he greater the international collaboration, the stronger the potential impact,” they write.

Three out of five items this week were about the Biden administration undoing things that happened over the past year. Not Iran though. Joe Biden said in a televised interview that Iran must stop enriching uranium before receiving any US sanctions relief. (Earlier, Iran’s Ali Khamenei reportedly said the United States must lift sanctions before Iran will honor its obligations under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)).

Join Jessica Bartlett, Molly Mulready, Che Sidanius, and me for a panel on Global Human Rights Sanctions on Day 2 of the upcoming global Sanctions Space Summit hosted by the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (ACAMS), 2 to 3 March. Peter Harrell, recently appointed White House National Economic Council and National Security Council Senior Director for International Economic and Competitiveness, will kick off the event with remarks on the administration’s priorities. Registration is here.

Best wishes to everyone for a happy, healthy, and prosperous Year of the Ox!

Did I miss something? Send me a message or comment on LinkedIn.

(The views expressed are my own and do not constitute legal advice. Photo from Vladislav Reshetnyak.)



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Nicholas Turner

US attorney in Hong Kong specializing in economic sanctions, financial crimes. Sign up for emails: LinkedIn at: