OFAC is an acronym that stands for the Office of Foreign Asset Control. This is a department through the United States Treasury that imposes economic and trade sanctions against foreign countries. These sanctions are applied to both nations and groups that have been involved in drug trafficking, terrorism, and other activities. OFAC was first created in 1950 during the Korean War. President Harry Truman froze Chinese and Korean assets after China entered the war. Sanctions are imposed based on foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States, as well as sanctions mandated by the United Nations.
Let’s look at an example of what OFAC could do. If one country invaded another country, OFAC would enforce sanctions by freezing trade and other assets. This is done in order to facilitate talks or other action that would stop conflict. Sanctioned countries include the following: Balkans, Belarus, Burma, Ivory Coast, Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iran, Iraq, Liberia, North Korea, Syria, and Zimbabwe. This list is updated frequently and the most current version can always be found on the official U.S. Treasury website.
The current OFAC-sanctioned countries are the Balkans, Belarus, Burma, the Ivory Coast, Cuba, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iran, Iraq, Liberia, North Korea, Syria, and Zimbabwe.