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Frequently Asked Questions

182. Is there a difference between entities that have been designated by the United States Government for illicit conduct, such as proliferation of weapons of mass destruction or support for terrorism, and those that are being blocked under E.O. 13599? How can I tell which entities appear on the Specially Designated National (SDN) List for which reasons?


Both blocked and designated entities appear on the SDN List.

“Blocked” persons, in the context of E.O. 13599, appear on the SDN List due to the United States Government’s identification of these entities as the Government of Iran and/or as an Iranian financial institution. Such entities are identified on the SDN List with the tag [IRAN]. For example, Bank Keshavarzi is a Government of Iran owned Iranian financial institution and is identified with the [IRAN] tag. Additionally, the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) is a non-financial institution that has been identified as the Government of Iran and bears the [IRAN] tag.

“Designated” persons appear on the SDN List due to the United States Government’s having determined that they meet the criteria set forth in any of a number of other Executive Orders concerning, for example, assisting Iran’s weapons of mass destruction development, or aiding international terrorism and designating them for such activities. Such entities are identified on the SDN List with various tags other than [IRAN], such as [NPWMD] or [SDGT]. For example, Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines is listed as: “IRISL [NPWMD].”

Note that many entries on the SDN List have more than one tag. For example: Bank Saderat Iran has three tags: [SDGT], indicating that it has been sanctioned for providing services to terrorism; [IRAN], indicating that it is the Government of Iran; and [IFSR], referring to the Iranian Financial Sanctions Regulations to signal to third country financial institutions that engage with entities with this tag that they risk sanctions under CISADA.

Date Released
February 14, 2012