On April 22, 2012, the President signed Executive Order 13606 Blocking The Property And Suspending Entry into the United States of Certain Persons with Respect to Grave Human Rights Abuses by the Governments of Iran and Syria Via Information Technology (the "GHRAVITY E.O."). Effective 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time on April 23, 2012, the GHRAVITY E.O. blocks all property and interests in property of persons listed in its Annex, and all persons determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with or at the recommendation of the Secretary of State, to meet the criteria in the order. [04-23-2012]
183. Why did the President issue the GHRAVITY E.O.?
The GHRAVITY E.O. follows prior Executive orders issued by the President in response to the commission of human rights abuses by the Governments of Iran and Syria. With the GHRAVITY E.O., the President recognized that the commission of serious human rights abuses against the people of Iran and Syria by their governments, facilitated by computer and network disruption, monitoring, and tracking by those governments, threatens the national security and foreign policy of the United States. The GHRAVITY E.O. targets this activity in order to deter and disrupt such abuses. [04-23-2012]
184. What does the GHRAVITY E.O. do?
The GHRAVITY E.O. blocks (i.e., freezes) the property and interests in property of, among others, any person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with or at the recommendation of the Secretary of State, (1) to have operated, or to have directed the operation of, information and communications technology that facilitates computer or network disruption, monitoring, or tracking that could assist in or enable serious human rights abuses by or on behalf of the Government of Iran or the Government of Syria; or (2) to have sold, leased, or otherwise provided, directly or indirectly, goods, services, or technology to Iran or Syria likely to be used to facilitate such activities.
U.S. persons in possession of property or interests in property belonging to persons listed in the Annex to the GHRAVITY E.O., or designated in the future by Treasury under the E.O., are obligated to block the property and report the blocking to OFAC within 10 days of blocking. Entities that are 50% or more owned by persons blocked by the GHRAVITY E.O. are also blocked, regardless of whether such entities appear on the Annex or OFAC's list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons ("SDN list"). [04-23-2012]
185. What type of activities does the GHRAVITY E.O. target?
The GHRAVITY E.O. targets the provision and use of information and communications technology to facilitate computer or network disruption, monitoring, or tracking that could assist in or enable serious human rights abuses by or on behalf of the Government of Iran or the Government of Syria. It is not intended to block exports of technology that enable the Syrian and Iranian people to freely communicate among themselves and with the outside world.
"Information and communications technology" means any hardware, software, or other product or service primarily intended to fulfill or enable the function of information processing and communication by electronic means, including transmission and display, including via the Internet. [04-23-2012]
186. How do I know that a person has been designated under the GHRAVITY E.O.?
Persons designated under the GHRAVITY E.O. appear on the publicly available SDN list bearing the [HRIT] tag. U.S. persons are obligated to block property involving the persons bearing the tag [HRIT] on the SDN list, unless the transaction is exempt or otherwise authorized by OFAC. [04-23-2012]
187. Does the GHRAVITY E.O. prohibit me from exporting technology to companies that do business with Iran or Syria?
This E.O. does not generally prohibit transactions involving persons that do business with Iran or Syria, unless the person has been designated pursuant to this order. You should consult with the Department of Commerce's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) regarding exports to companies that do business with Syria. [04-23-2012]
188. If I am a non-U.S. company that exports information and communications technology to Iran or Syria, will I be designated under the GHRAVITY E.O.?
The measures in this order are designed primarily to address the need to prevent entities located in whole or in part in Iran and Syria from facilitating or committing serious human rights abuses. These measures are not designed to prevent the provision of information and communications technology necessary to enable the Iranian and Syrian people to freely communicate with each other and the outside world. That said, those providing communications technology to Iran or Syria that has the potential to facilitate computer or network disruption, monitoring, or tracking should exercise great caution given Iran and Syria's use of this technology to assist in the commission of serious human rights abuses. [04-23-2012]
189. Would I need authorization from OFAC or BIS if I wanted to export goods or technology to persons blocked under the GHRAVITY E.O.?
Yes. For more information regarding exports of goods or technology to persons blocked under the GHRAVITY E.O., please contact OFAC or BIS. [04-23-2012]
190. Are existing licenses issued by the U.S. Government involving persons designated under the GHRAVITY E.O. still valid?
U.S. persons who have been issued licenses involving persons designated under the GHRAVITY E.O. should check with the issuing agency regarding the validity of their licenses. [04-23-2012]