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The International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), Title II of Pub.L. 95-223, 91 Stat. 1626, enacted October 28, 1977, is a United States federal law authorizing the President to regulate commerce after declaring a national emergency in response to any unusual and extraordinary threat to the United States which has a foreign source.
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.
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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.
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.
As of 2011[update], commerce with the following countries and people is restricted under the IEEPA.
Many federal regulations dealing with export restrictions are based on IEEPA authority. This regulatory system was developed under the Export Administration Act of 1979. When the law nearly expired in 1984, the President declared the expiration to be an emergency and reauthorized the entire set of regulations then in force. The same happened in 1994 when the law finally expired, and this presidential extension of export restrictions has continued ever since.
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