International Emergency Economic Powers Act

International Emergency Economic Powers Act

The International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) is a United States federal law allowing U.S. Presidents to identify any unusual extraordinary threat that originates outside the United States and to confiscate property and prohibit transactions in response. In the United States Code the IEEPA is Title 50, sections 1701-1707.


The IEEPA authorizes the president to declare the existence of an "unusual and extraordinary threat... to the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States" that originates "in whole or substantial part outside the United States." It further authorizes the president, after such a declaration, to block transactions and freeze assets to deal with the threat. In the event of an actual attack on the United States, the president can also confiscate property connected with a country, group, or person that aided in the attack.

The IEEPA falls under the provisions of the National Emergencies Act (NEA), which means that an emergency declared under the act must be renewed annually to remain in effect, and can be terminated by Congressional resolution.


Congress enacted the law in 1977 as part of a reform to clarify the powers of presidents with regard to national emergencies. Starting with Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933, presidents had claimed the power to declare emergencies without limiting their scope or duration, without citing the relevant statutes, and without reporting to Congress. The Supreme Court in "Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer" limited what a president could do in such an emergency, but did not limit the emergency declaration power itself. A 1973 Senate investigation found (in Senate Report 93-549) that four declared emergencies remained in effect: the 1933 emergency with respect to gold, a 1950 emergency with respect to the Korean War, a 1970 emergency regarding a postal workers strike, and a 1971 emergency in response to inflation. Congress terminated these emergencies with the National Emergencies Act, and then passed the IEEPA to restore the emergency power in a limited, overseeable form.

Once passed, the act became a convenient means for presidents to order embargos of specific countries. Later presidents used the act to shut down organizations and cut off support to individuals.

Alleged violations

In 1983, financier Marc Rich was accused of violating the act by trading in Iranian oil during the Iran hostage crisis. He was one of many people pardoned by President Bill Clinton in his last days in office.

The Department of Justice has brought IEEPA charges against Americans who travelled to Iraq in advance of the 2003 invasion to act as human shields, on the basis that they spent money while in Iraq.

On August 23, 2006, Javed Iqbal was arrested through the U.S. Department of the Treasury with a charge of conspiracy to violate the IEEPA for airing material produced by al-Manar (The Beacon) in New York City during the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict.

Current subjects of IEEPA emergencies

As of 2008, commerce with the following countries and people is restricted under the IEEPA.


*Belarus (since 2006 for undermining democratic institutions)
*Iran (since 1979 for the Iran hostage crisis and subsequent sponsorship of terrorism)
*Myanmar (since 1997 for repressing democratic opposition)
*North Korea (since 2008 for risk of the proliferation weapon-usable fissile material) [ [ Executive Order: Continuing Certain Restrictions with Respect to North Korea and North Korean Nationals] - The White House June 26, 2008, retrieved on June 26, 2008]
*Russia (since 2000 to prevent export of weapons-grade uranium)
*Sudan (since 1997 for human rights violations and sponsoring terrorism)
*Syria (since 2004 for sponsorship of terrorism and pursuit of weapons of mass destruction)
*Zimbabwe (since 2003 for undermining democratic institutions)

Designated terror organizations

*Abu Sayyaf Group
*al-Itihaad al-Islamiya
*Al Rashid Trust
*Armed Islamic Group
*Asbat al-Ansar
*Islamic Army of Aden
*Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan
*Libyan Islamic Fighting Group
*Maktab al-Khadamat
*Mamoun Darkazanli Import-Export Company
*Salafist Group for Call and Combat
*the Taliban
*Wafa Humanitarian Organization

Designated terrorists

*Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi / Abu Abdallah
*Abu Hafs the Mauritanian / Khalid Al-Shanqiti / Mahfouz Walad Al-Walid
*Abu Zubaydah / Zayn al-Abidin Muhammad Husayn / Tariq
*Ayman al-Zawahiri
*Harakat ul-Mujahidin
*Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi
*Mohammed Atef / Abu Hafs al-Masri / Subhi Abu Sitta
*Mohammed Omar
*Muhammad Salah / Nasr Fahmi Nasr Hasanayn
*Mustafa Muhammad Ahmad / Shaykh Sai'id
*Osama bin Laden
*Rifa'i Ahmad Taha Musa
*Sayf al-Adl
*Tariq Anwar al-Sayyid Ahmad / Fathi / Amr al-Fatih
*Thirwat Salah Shirhata


*extremists in the Republic of Macedonia and the Western Balkans (since 2001)
*terrorists who threaten to undermine the Middle East peace process
*persons generally that support or threaten to commit terrorism (since 2001)
*persons that engage in or support proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (since 1994)
*persons involved in international narcotics traffic (since 1995)
*former officials of the Ba'ath government of Iraq (since 2003)
*associates of Charles Taylor and persons who have unlawfully depleted the resources of Liberia (since 2004)
*persons contributing to the conflict in Côte d'Ivoire (since 2006)
*persons who threaten stabilization efforts in Iraq with violence (since 2007)

Past subjects of IEEPA emergencies

*Haiti (1991-1994)
*Iraq (1990-2004 for invading Kuwait)
*Kuwait (1990-1991, while occupied by Iraq)
*Liberia (2001-2004 for human rights violations)
*Libya (1986-2004 for sponsoring terrorism)
*Nicaragua (1985-1990 for aggressive activities in Central America)
*Panama (1988-1990 for military coup by Manuel Noriega)
*Serbia and Montenegro (1992-2003 for sponsoring Serb nationalist groups)
*Sierra Leone (2001-2004 for human rights violations)
*South Africa (1985-1991 for maintaining apartheid)
*UNITA (1993-2003 for interfering with UN peacekeeping efforts)
*temporary extension of the Export Administration Act (1984-1985)


ee also

*Trading with the Enemy Act

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