A state sponsor of terrorism can face severe diplomatic and trade sanctions from the United States
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has asked US President Joe Biden to designate Russia as “a state sponsor of terrorism”.
According to The Washington Post, Zelenskyy made the request during a recent phone call with Biden that “centred on the West’s multifaceted response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine”.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki and Secretary of State Antony Blinken both had left open the possibility of designating Russia a state sponsor of terrorism.
“We are and we will look at everything,” Blinken said on 17 March, as reported by CNBC.
Currently, only four countries are on the US list of state sponsors of terrorism: Iran, North Korea, Syria and Cuba.
What is state sponsor of terrorism?
The countries that have “repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism” can be designated as “State Sponsors of Terrorism” by the US Secretary of State.
Any country that is designated a state sponsor of terrorism can face four categories of sanctions.
As per the website of the State Department, the four main categories of sanctions resulting from this include restrictions on US foreign assistance; a ban on defense exports and sales; certain controls over exports of dual use items; and miscellaneous financial and other restrictions.
The US can also impose sanctions on countries and persons that engage in certain trade relations with the designated countries.
What if Russia is designated as state sponsor of terrorism?
As per the CNBC report, if the US blacklists Russia as a sponsor of terrorism, any company, individual, or state that wins a court judgment against Russia could demand access to any blocked or frozen assets of the Russian government or Russian oligarchs.
The designation could lift diplomatic immunity on Russian officials, and allow families of alleged terrorist victims to file lawsuits in US courts against Russian officials.
Countries currently on the list
As of now, there are four countries on the list of state sponsors of terrorism: Iran, North Korea, Syria and Cuba.
Syria was the first country to be designated on 29 December, 1979, followed by Iran on 19 January, 1984. The US designated North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism on 20 November, 2017, while Cuba was re-designated as a state sponsor of terrorism on 12 January, 2021.
A country can be removed from the list if it is considered to have reformed its behaviour and returned to complying with the requirements of international law and conduct, or if it has undergone a change of leadership.
Hence, in October 2020, then-President Donald Trump announced to take Sudan off the list of state sponsors of terrorism. The African country was designated by President Bill Clinton in 1993.
Iraq has been on and off the list for a few times starting from 1982 when it was removed for the first time before being re-listed in 1990. It was again removed from the list in 2004.
Cuba, which was first designated in 1982, was de-listed by President Barack Obama in 2015 to resume diplomatic and economic relations with it.
Trump, however, added the country back to the list of state sponsors of terrorism in 2021.
With inputs from agencies
The Insidexpress is now on Telegram and Google News. Join us on Telegram and Google News, and stay updated.