The U.S. Department of the Treasury today designated three Syrian entities, the Higher Institute of Applied Science and Technology (HIAST), the Electronics Institute, and the National Standards and Calibration Laboratory (NSCL), pursuant to Executive Order 13382, an authority aimed at freezing the assets of proliferators of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their supporters.
"Syria is using official government organizations to develop nonconventional weapons and the missiles to deliver them," said Stuart Levey, Treasury's Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (TFI). "We will continue to take action to prevent such state-sponsored WMD proliferators from using the international financial system."
All three entities meet the criteria for designation under E.O. 13382 because they are subordinates of the Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC), which was designated by President George W. Bush in the Annex to E.O. 13382 issued on June 29, 2005. SSRC is the Syrian government agency responsible for developing and producing non-conventional weapons and the missiles to deliver them. SSRC also has an overtly promoted civilian research function; however, its activities focus substantively on the development of biological and chemical weapons.
Syria's Electronics Institute is responsible for missile-related research and development, and HIAST is a Syrian educational institution which provides training to SSRC engineers. The U.S. Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security in March 2005 added SSRC, HIAST, and NSCL to the Entity List, a public list of entities whose activities pose a risk of diverting exported and reexported items into programs related to weapons of mass destruction, among other sensitive activities. The Entities List also includes entities for which U.S. foreign policy goals are served by imposing additional license requirements on exports and reexports to those entities.
Additionally, Japan has identified the SSRC, HIAST, and NSCL as entities of proliferation concern. NSCL has also been identified by South Korea as an entity of proliferation concern.
Designations under E.O. 13382 prohibit all transactions between the designees and any U.S. person and freeze any assets of the designees that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons.
Background on E.O. 13382
Today's action builds on President Bush's issuance of E.O. 13382 on June 29, 2005. Recognizing the need for additional tools to combat the proliferation of WMD, the President signed the E.O. authorizing the imposition of strong financial sanctions against not only WMD proliferators, but also entities and individuals providing support or services to them.
In the Annex to E.O. 13382, the President identified eight entities operating in North Korea, Iran, and Syria for their support of WMD proliferation. E.O. 13382 authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, and other relevant agencies, to designate additional entities and individuals providing support or services to the entities identified in the Annex to the Order.
In addition to the entities identified in the annex of E.O. 13382, the Treasury Department has designated twenty-one entities and one individual as proliferators of WMD, specifically:
- Eight North Korean entities on October 21, 2005;
- Two Iranian entities on January 4, 2006;
- One Swiss individual and one Swiss entity tied to North Korean proliferation activity on March 30, 2006;
- Four Chinese entities and one U.S. entity tied to Iranian proliferation activity on June 8, 2006;
- Two Iranian entities on July 18, 2006; and
- Three Syrian entities on January 4, 2007.
The designation announced today is part of the ongoing interagency effort by the United States Government to combat WMD trafficking by blocking the property of entities and individuals that engage in proliferation activities and their support networks.