Brian Nelson, the US Treasury’s top sanctions official, will begin a five-day visit to Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Oman on Sunday, January 29. The purpose of this trip is to warn the companies and governments of these three countries against attempts to circumvent US sanctions against Russia and Iran.
Companies working with entities subject to sanctions imposed by the United States risk losing access to the US market. Here’s the message that Brian Nelson, Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, will convey to businesses and banks in the region. In particular, he will warn them to avoid the transfer of technologies that could be used by the Russian army.
Washington is also concerned about the circumvention of US sanctions against Iran. The US administration has already imposed a number of sanctions against companies based in the United Arab Emirates for non-compliance with sanctions linked to the Iranian regime.
A politics of extraterritoriality
The United States consistently applies the policy that its sanctions are extraterritorial. It allows Washington to sanction foreign companies that are present on American soil, or to deny access to those who want to do business with American companies. Sometimes this policy can pay off big: French bank BNP Parisbas, for example, has paid the price. She paid in 2014 a record fine of nearly $9 billion to circumvent the US embargo against certain countries, including Cuba.
Brian Nelson travels to Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey from 29 January to 3 February. The trip is the latest visit by a senior finance minister to Turkey to discuss sanctions, following a series of warnings issued last year when Washington is increasing the pressure on Ankara to ensure the enforcement of US restrictions on Russia. Brian Nelson’s trip coincides with a period of strained relations between the US and Turkey, with the two NATO allies showing their disagreement on a number of issues.
(and with agencies)