As of 2014, countries embargoed by the United States include Burma, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Syria. Sanctions placed on other countries by the United States can be either comprehensive or selective. The United States also has sanctions placed on individuals in many countries, including Iraq, Lebanon, Russia, Somalia and Yemen.
Sanctions towards Burma began in 1997 due to the country's political system. As of June 2014, sanctions are beginning to be lifted because of Burma's democratization. Sanctions towards Cuba began in 1962 because of the Cold War and the Cuban Missile Crisis. The sanctions on Iran began in 1979 because of the Iranian Revolution, but more embargoes were put into place because of Iran's nuclear program. North Korea has been sanctioned since 1950 due to its nuclear program and human rights abuses. Sanctions on Sudan began in 2002 for several reasons, including human rights abuses and suspicions that Sudan has harbored Islamic extremists. Syria has been sanctioned since 1986 for human rights abuses and the Syrian Civil War, which began in 2011 and is ongoing as of Sept. 2014. Syria is also considered a sponsor of terrorism by the United States. The United States places embargoes on certain countries for national security and to make progress on foreign policies.