US sanctions eased on books

The US has eased sanctions against Cuba, Iran and Sudan to facilitate literary and scientific exchanges, despite keeping all three on its 'state sponsors of terrorism' blacklist.

    New book policy will not change sanctions' 'security objectives'

    A new rule, released by the Treasury Department on Wednesday, enables American writers and academics to freely engage in most ordinary publishing activities with individuals and groups in the three countries.
      
    However, restrictions on "certain interactions" with the local governments in the area of publishing will be maintained, but the department did not specify in its statement how broad they will be.
      
    Robert Werner, director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control that is charged with enforcing sanctions, said people seeking to publish works by Cuban, Iranian and Sudanese authors in the United States,  will henceforth be able to do so "without seeking permission" from his office first.

    National interest

    Writers from these countries will also be able to publish their own materials in the three states.
      
    "This rule provides clarity and promotes important policies aimed at the free exchange of ideas without undermining the national security objectives of these country sanctions," Werner stated.
      
    Although introduced at different times, the US sanctions against Cuba, Iran and Sudan bar most types of trade or other exchanges because the US government believes these countries are run by oppressive governments.
      
    While easing the restrictions on publishing, the Treasury Department made clear the bulk of other sanctions against the three will remain in place because they are "critical to US interests".

    SOURCE: AFP


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