Countries on the Office of Foreign Assets Control sanctions list undergo trade restrictions, frozen assets and large monetary fines. These penalties are enforced based on national security and foreign policy goals in order to protect the United States from foreign regimes, narcotics traffickers, terrorists and other threats.
The OFAC operates under presidential and homeland security national emergency powers, taking control of transactions and freezing assets within U.S. jurisdiction. Other penalties for countries on the OFAC sanctions list include barring organizations, companies and individuals from operating in the United States. Some foreign sanctions are drawn from international mandates, including the United Nations, and rely on the cooperation of allied governments.
Individuals charged with sanctions are placed on a special list within the OFAC. This list, known as the Specially Designated Nationals list, keeps a record of individuals acting on behalf of, or in concordance with, targeted countries. This measure aids in the reduction of money laundering, bribery and illegal trading of goods, services or classified information. A list is also kept of individual violators and groups who come from countries of unspecified origin. The assets of these individuals and groups are frozen, and they are not permitted to engage in any dealings with U.S. citizens.