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Country Embargoes and Targeted Sanctions

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The U.S. government enforces a range of sanctions against various countries and organizations worldwide. The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) at the U.S. Department of the Treasury maintains a list of comprehensively embargoed countries, which means that ALL exports / imports and other transactions are prohibited without a license. Countries with targeted sanctions that prohibit trade of specified goods, technologies, and services are also listed.

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) at the U.S. Department of the Treasury administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions based on U.S. foreign policy and national security goals against targeted foreign countries, terrorists, international narcotics traffickers, and those engaged in activities related to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Comprehensive Embargoes

Conducting business of any kind, including academic activities, with or within a country currently under a comprehensive embargo is greatly restricted and requires a license from the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). If any country or organization with which you will be interacting is on the list of comprehensively embargoed countries, contact Stanford's Export Control Officer, Steve Eisner, at 1-650-724-7072 for guidance.

Targeted Sanctions

Targeted sanctions are aimed more specifically at prohibiting certain activities with sanctioned persons or entities within a country and, in most cases, do not restrict academic activities. If transacting business with a country that is identified on the Targeted Sanctions Country lists, use Stanford's Export Control Decision Tree and conduct a Restricted Party Screen. Contact Steve Eisner if clarification is needed.

Specially Designated Nationals (SDN)

The Specially Designated Nationals list is updated regularly and contains names of individuals and organizations that are restricted from “transactions or dealings” with U.S. individuals and entities. “Transactions or dealings” include any service, payment, or agreement for a payment, regardless of the amount. The University screens all central payments made against the SDN list prior to their completion. The Office of the Vice Provost and Dean of Research (DoR) has created a Restricted Party Screening website for the Stanford community to perform SDN and related U.S. Government-restricted party screens for foreign person and organizations with whom Stanford is entering into an international research collaboration or agreement, or making payments in-country. Additionally, Stanford screens its own payments against the SDN list, and a further screening is conducted by the clearing bank. Stanford individuals are expected to be aware of these requirements and to consider them when entering into transactions with or within a foreign country.


OFAC may impose both criminal and civil penalties against individuals and institutions found to violate these sanctions.

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