Q: How does the U.S. government define "terrorism" in imposing sanctions?
A: "Terrorism" means an activity that involves a violent act or an act that endangers human life, property, or infrastructure; and appears to be intended to: Intimidate or coerce a civilian population; Influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or Affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, kidnapping, or hostage-taking.
Q: Do these sanctions focus on any particular area of the world other than the U.S.?
A: Yes, the terrorism sanctions enacted prior to the attack on September 11, 2001 were targeted at terrorists who threaten to disrupt the Middle East Peace Process. These sanctions remain in place today.
Q: Are the sanctions limited to only those people who participate in acts of terrorism?
A: No. The sanctions extend to any person or business that the Attorney General, and Secretaries of State and Treasury determine: Has committed or poses a significant risk of committing acts of terrorism that threaten the security of U.S. nationals or the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the U.S. Is owned or controlled by, or acts on behalf of those listed above; or Assists in, sponsor or provides financial, material or technological support for acts of terrorism or acts that threaten U.S. national security, foreign policy, or the economy.
Q: Do the terrorism sanctions target any countries in addition to individuals and businesses?
A: Yes, the U.S. government has designated the governments of Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria as supporting international terrorism. The U.S. government has imposed strict economic sanctions on Cuba, Iran, and Sudan . With respect to Sudan, the U.S. government prohibits U.S. persons from receiving unlicensed donations and from engaging in financial transactions with the Sudanese governments if the U.S. person has reason to know a financial transaction poses a risk of supporting terrorist acts in the U.S.
Q: Does the U.S. government restrict financial transactions with the Palestinian Authority?
A: No. The U.S. government has concluded that Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and his other ministers are not affiliated with the designated terrorist group Hamas and consequently authorizes U.S. persons to engage in all transactions with the Palestinian Authority. However, the government still prohibits U.S. persons from engaging in any financial transactions with individuals, corporations or organizations in the West Bank or Gaza that would provide any support for Hamas or other designated persons or entities.
Q: Does the U.S. government put all individuals and businesses that fall under these categories in one large list?
A: Yes, but each individual or entity is labeled as either a Specially Designated Terrorist (SDT), a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), or a Specially Designated Global Terrorist Entity (SDGT).
Q: Are the sanctions against each of those categories the same?
A: For the most part, yes. The U.S. government prohibits any transaction or dealing by U.S. persons or within the U.S. relating to the blocked property of SDTs or SDGTs. The government also requires that financial institutions block all funds in which FTOs or their agents have an interest and requires those institutions to notify OFAC when they have blocked those funds.