US imposes sanctions on Russia - 7 other significant sanctions

With the news that the United States is imposing tough sanctions on Russia and others, here are seven significant sanctions from the last few decades.

The BBC has reported that Donald Trump has signed a bill, which puts new sanctions on the likes of Russia and North Korea. The corporation has also reported that, in a significant use of words, the Russian prime minister has called the sanctions a “full-scale trade war.”

Here are seven significant sanctions from recent history:


During the Cold War, tough sanctions were imposed on Cuba by the United States. In October last year, the New York Times reported that Barack Obama ended certain sanctions on the Caribbean country, in a sign of reducing tension between the two nations.

North Korea

North Korea has had a variety of sanctions imposed on it in recent decades. The Washington Post provides a run-down of UN resolutions that detriment North Korea following a variety of tests, primarily concerning nuclear weapons.

Most recently, a 2016 resolution (2321) passed by the United Nations, “prohibited Pyongyang from exporting copper, nickel, silver and zinc, new helicopters and vessels, as well as statues. It decided further that all Member States shall take steps to limit the number of bank accounts held by diplomatic missions and consular posts, as well as diplomats of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea within their respective territories,” according to the UN.

Member states are also not allowed to sell “coal, iron or iron ore” to the country.

South Africa

Anti-apartheid sanctions were imposed on South Africa by the United States and others in the 1980s. A Yale economics paper by Levy suggests that the sanctions cannot be discounted as a cause of the eventual end to apartheid in the early 1990s, but that their imposition had more of a “psychological impact.”


After Russia took Crimea from Ukraine, the EU imposed tough sanctions on Putin’s nation. The measures included visa bans for certain citizens, bans on EU citizens buying bonds in significant Russian companies and a limited arms embargo, according to the EU.


According to American Foreign Relations, the US started imposing sanctions on the USSR in 1948, something which continued for over half a century. It also reports that “The embargo on Eastern European countries was less stringent, in hopes of driving a wedge between the Soviet Union and its allies.”


Iran is one of the countries included in the new piece of legislation which also imposes sanctions on Russia and North Korea, but sanctions have been imposed on Iran decades. It all started in 1979, following the Tehran Embassy hostage crisis, according to CNN. The site reports that $12bn worth of assets were frozen following the crisis, and that further sanctions have been imposed in 1987, 1995, 2010 and 2011. It also reports that the UN has also imposed significant sanctions on the Middle Eastern country.


This small Middle Eastern country is currently facing tough sanctions from many of its closest neighbours, the Guardian reports. In June, Qatar was asked to fulfil thirteen demands from its neighbours, which it did not do, the result of which is that it is likely to face further sanctions, according to the Independent