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Sanctioned Countries 2023

North Korea

It should come as little surprise that North Korea makes our list of the most sanctioned countries for Americans. The sanctions have been in place since the beginning of the Korean War in 1950, and show no signs of lifting. The United States and North Korea have no diplomatic relations whatsoever. North Koreans cannot take attend military schools in the US, American companies cannot contract with the North Korean military, and the North Korean military cannot get any grants or loans from the American government.


The sanctions on Iran began with the hostage crisis in the 1970s, and they have only expanded in recent years. These sanctions are due primarily to Iran’s nuclear progam. The Iranian government claims that they are only interested in nuclear power, while the US and Israel accuse the Iranians of pursuing nuclear weapons development. Iranians cannot attend military schools in America, American companies cannot work with the Iranian military, and the Iranian military is not eligible for any grants or loans from the American government.


The American sanctions on Syria began in 1986, but they expanded in 2012 at the beginning of the Syrian Civil War. At this point, the United States and Syria severed all diplomatic ties. Syria is also listed as a state sponsor of terrorism by the United States, which prevents American companies from working with the Syrian government. The Syrian military also suffers from the same restrictions as the military of Iran and North Korea.


The rise of Fidel Castro as Cuba’s leader in the late 1950s brought about American sanctions, as he was considered a Communist insurgent. The sanctions are wide-reaching, and ban the import of Cuban goods into the United States. The international community has often criticized the impact that the American sanctions have had on the Cuban economy.


Venezuela and the United States have had poor relations for many years now, dating back to the rise of Hugo Chavez. He frequently criticized George W. Bush during his presidency, ensuring that American restrictions on the country endured. The United States has had no diplomatic relationship with Venezuela since 2019. The sanctions in place severely restrict business between American and Venezuelan companies. American companies are also restricted from doing business with the Venezuelan government under President Nicolas Maduro. The US recognizes the disputed president Juan Guaido.

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How many countries has the US sanctioned?

The US has sanctioned North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba, Syria, and Iran, for a total of five nations.

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