Our office continually receives calls and emails regarding the lifting of nuclear sanctions and how that impacts U.S persons. The most common question asked is whether the Unites States still has sanctions in place against Iran. The answer is YES.

Implementation Day, which took place in January of 2016, resulted in some changes to U.S. sanctions law that do impact U.S. persons and entities. More specifically, the U.S. government took the following steps:

  • issued a statement of favorable licensing policy regarding the export, reexport, sale, lease or transfer of commercial passenger aircraft and related parts and services to Iran for exclusively civil, commercial passenger aviation end-use;
  • issued a general license authorizing non-U.S. entities that are owned or controlled by a U.S. person (“U.S.-owned or -controlled foreign entities”) to engage in activities hat are consistent with the JCPOA and applicable U.S. laws and regulations; and
  • issued a general license authorizing the importation into the United States of Iranian-origin carpets and foodstuffs, including pistachios and caviar.

Outside of the changes outlined above, all of the other changes involved NON-U.S. persons and entities. Therefore U.S. persons and U.S. companies continue to be broadly prohibited from engaging in transactions or dealings with Iran and the Government of Iran unless such activities are exempt from regulation or authorized by OFAC. The majority of the sanctions lifted on Implementation Day DO NOT apply to U.S. persons and entities. Therefore U.S. persons and U.S. companies continue to be broadly prohibited from engaging in transactions or dealings with Iran and the Government of Iran unless such activities are exempt from regulation or authorized by OFAC.

Before engaging in any type of transaction with Iran, US persons (meaning any United States citizen, permanent resident alien, entity organized under the laws of the United States or any jurisdiction within the United States (including foreign branches), or any person in the United States) must still ensure that that comply with the US sanctions and regulations. For more information contact our firm today.

On January 16, 2016, also known as Implementation Day, the United States government lifted certain nuclear-related secondary sanctions it had in place against Iran. Although Implementation Day resulted in some changes to U.S. sanctions law, many sanctions prohibiting U.S. persons from dealing with Iran are still in place. This article begins by giving an overview of the Nuclear Deal and Implementation day and then moves to outline the removal of the secondary sanctions concerning non-U.S. persons, and finally closes by discussing the impact of Implementation Day on U.S. persons.

 

Section I:   Overview of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and Implementation Day

On July 14, 2015, the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States), the European Union (EU), and Iran reached a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to ensure that Iran’s nuclear program will be exclusively peaceful.

On January 16, 2016, Implementation Day, upon confirmation that Iran met obligations under JCPOA, the U.S. lifted nuclear-related sanctions against Iran. It is important for U.S. persons (meaning any United States citizen, permanent resident alien, entity organized under the laws of the United States or any jurisdiction within the United States (including foreign branches), or any person in the United States) that the secondary nuclear-related sanctions are generally aimed at non-U.S. persons for specified conduct that occurs entirely outside of the United States. As a result, many of the changes in the regulations that took place on Implementation Day DO NOT impact U.S. persons directly.

The primary U.S. sanctions (i.e. the domestic trade embargo) against Iran and the main body of sanctions law as outlined by the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. Part 560 (ITSR) remains in place. Therefore, even after Implementation Day and the lifting of the nuclear sanctions, with limited exceptions, U.S. persons (as defined above) – including U.S. companies – continue to be broadly prohibited from engaging in transactions or dealings with Iran or its government. Therefore, it remains impetrative that U.S. persons ensure that a particular transaction and/or conduct at issue are permitted under the current regulations before engaging in any conduct, commercial or other, vis-à-vis Iran.

 

Section II:    The Nuclear-related Secondary Sanctions Lifted on Implementation Day

Financial and Banking-related Sanctions

On Implementation Day, the U.S. lifted certain sanctions that restricted the financial and banking activities non-U.S. persons could engage in relating to Iran. In particular, beginning on Implementation Day, the following activities by non-U.S. persons are no longer sanctionable: activities, including financial and banking transactions, with the Government of Iran (GOI), the Central Bank of Iran (CBI), Iranian financial institutions, and other Iranian persons including the provision of loans, transfers, accounts (including the opening and maintenance of correspondent and payable-through accounts at non-U.S. financial institutions), investments, securities, guarantees, foreign exchange (including Iranian rial-related transactions), letters of credit and commodity futures or options, the provision of specialized financial messaging services and facilitation of direct or indirect access thereto, the purchase or acquisition by the GOI of U.S. bank notes, and the purchase, subscription to, or facilitation of the issuance of Iranian sovereign debt as well as providing specialized financial messaging services to the CBI and Iranian financial institutions.

 

Sanctions Related to Insurance

Beginning on Implementation Day, non-U.S. persons are authorized to provide underwriting services, insurance, or re-insurance in connection with activities consistent with the JCPOA, including activities with individuals and entities set forth in the regulations, including underwriting services, insurance, or re-insurance in connection with activities in the energy, shipping, and shipbuilding sectors of Iran, for National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) or National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC), or for vessels that transport crude oil, natural gas, liquefied natural gas, petroleum, and petrochemical products to or from Iran.

 

Sanctions Related to Iran’s Energy and Petrochemical Sectors

Beginning on Implementation Day such sanctions, including sanctions on associated services, do not apply to non-U.S. persons who: (i) are part of the energy sector of Iran; (ii) purchase, acquire, sell, transport, or market petroleum, petroleum products (including refined petroleum products), petrochemical products, or natural gas (including liquefied natural gas) to or from Iran; (iii) provide to Iran support, investment (including through joint ventures), goods, services (including financial services), and technology that can be used in connection with Iran’s energy sector, the development of its petroleum resources, and its domestic production of refined petroleum products and petrochemical products; or (iv) engage in activities with Iran’s energy sector, including NIOC, NITC, and Naftiran Intertrade Company (NICO).

 

Sanctions Related to Iran’s Shipping and Shipbuilding Sectors and Port Operators

On Implementation Day such sanctions, including sanctions on associated services, do not apply to non-U.S. persons who are part of the shipping or shipbuilding sectors of Iran or who: own, operate, control, or insure a vessel used to transport crude oil, petroleum products (including refined petroleum products), petrochemical products, or natural gas (including liquefied natural gas) to or from Iran; operate a port in Iran, engage in activities with, or provide financial services and other goods and services used in connection with, the shipping and shipbuilding sectors of Iran or a port operator in Iran, including port services, such as bunkering and inspection, classification, and financing, and the sale, leasing, and provision of vessels to Iran.

 

Sanctions Related to Gold and Other Precious Metals

Beginning on Implementation Day such sanctions, including sanctions on associated services, do not apply to non-U.S. persons who sell, supply, export, or transfer, directly or indirectly, to or from Iran, gold and other precious metals, or conduct or facilitate a financial transaction or provide services for the foregoing, including any security, insurance, and transportation.

 

Sanctions Related to Software and Metals

Beginning on Implementation Day such sanctions, including sanctions on associated services, do not apply to non-U.S. persons who sell, supply, or transfer, directly or indirectly, graphite, raw or semi-finished metals such as aluminum and steel, coal, and software for integrating industrial processes, to or from Iran in connection with activities consistent with the JCPOA, including trade with certain individuals and entities, and the sale, supply, or transfer of such materials to the energy, petrochemical, shipping, and shipbuilding sectors of Iran, and Iranian ports, or conduct or facilitate a financial transaction or provide services for the foregoing, including insurance and reinsurance.

 

Sanctions Related to the Automotive Sector

Beginning on Implementation Day such sanctions, including sanctions on associated services, do not apply to non-U.S. persons who conduct or facilitate financial or other transactions for the sale, supply, or transfer to Iran of goods and services used in connection with the automotive sector of Iran.

 

III.    Changes to U.S. Sanctions Law that Impact U.S. Persons

In addition to lifting certain secondary nuclear-related sanctions described above, on Implementation Day, the U.S. government also made certain changes to U.S. sanctions that law more directly impact U.S. persons. More specifically, the U.S. took the following steps:

  • issued a statement of favorable licensing policy regarding the export, reexport, sale, lease or transfer of commercial passenger aircraft and related parts and services to Iran for exclusively civil, commercial passenger aviation end-use;

 

  • issued a general license authorizing non-U.S. entities that are owned or controlled by a U.S. person (“U.S.-owned or -controlled foreign entities”) to engage in activities hat are consistent with the JCPOA and applicable U.S. laws and regulations; and

 

  • issued a general license authorizing the importation into the United States of Iranian-origin carpets and foodstuffs, including pistachios and caviar.

 

Statement of Licensing Policy for Activities Related to the Export or Reexport to Iran of Commercial Passenger Aircraft and Related Parts and Services (SLP)

On Implementation Day, OFAC issued a statement of licensing policy which establishes a favorable licensing policy regime through which U.S. persons and non-U.S. persons may request specific authorization from OFAC to engage in transactions for the (i) export, reexport, sale, lease or transfer to Iran of commercial passenger aircraft for exclusively civil aviation end use, (ii) export, reexport, sale, lease or transfer to Iran of spare parts and components for commercial passenger aircraft; and (iii) provision of associated services, including warranty, maintenance, and repair services and safety-related inspections, for all the foregoing, provided that licensed items and services are used exclusively for commercial passenger aviation. Please not that any export, reexport, or transfer of U.S. export-controlled items must be consistent with other U.S. legal requirements.

 

General License Authorizing Activities by Non-U.S. Persons that are Owned or Controlled by a U.S. Person

On Implementation Day, OFAC issued General License H (GLH) authorizing U.S.-owned or controlled foreign entities to engage in certain transactions involving Iran that would otherwise be prohibited. More specifically, the general license allows U.S.-owned or controlled foreign entities to engage in the same type of transactions that non-U.S. entities are now permitted to engage in as a result of the lifting the secondary nuclear-related sanctions as noted in Part II of this article and outlined above.

An entity established or maintained outside the United States is “owned or controlled” by a U.S. person if the U.S. person: (1) holds a 50 percent or greater equity interest by vote or value in the entity; (2) holds a majority of seats on the board of directors of the entity; or (3) otherwise controls the actions, policies, or personnel decisions of the entity.

GLH does not authorize U.S.-owned or -controlled foreign entities to engage in any transactions involving: (1) the direct or indirect exportation or reexportation of goods, technology, or services from the United States (without separate authorization from OFAC); (2) any transfer of funds to, from, or through the U.S. financial system; (3) any individual or entity on the SDN List or any activity that would be prohibited by non-Iran sanctions administered by OFAC if engaged in by a U.S. person or in the United States; (4) any individual or entity identified on the FSE List; (5) unless authorized by the U.S. Department of Commerce, activity prohibited by, or requiring a license under, part 744 of the U.S. Export Administration Regulations (EAR) or a person whose export privileges have been denied pursuant to part 764 or 766 of the EAR; (6) any military, paramilitary, intelligence, or law enforcement entity of the Government of Iran, or any officials, agents, or affiliates thereof; (7) any activity that is sanctionable under E.O. 12938 or 13382 (relating to Iran’s proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery, including ballistic missiles); E.O. 13224 (relating to international terrorism); E.O. 13572 or 13582 (relating to Syria); E.O. 13611 (relating to Yemen); or E.O. 13553 or 13606, or section 2 or 3 of E.O. 13628 (relating to Iran’s commission of human rights abuses against its citizens); and (8) any nuclear activity involving Iran that is subject to the procurement channel established pursuant to paragraph 16 of UNSCR 2231 (2015) and section 6 of Annex IV of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action of July 14, 2015 and that has not been approved through the procurement channel process.

In addition, GLH authorizes U.S. persons to engage in certain activities otherwise prohibited by the ITSR, namely, activities related to the establishment or alteration of corporate policies and procedures to the extent necessary to allow U.S.-owned or -controlled foreign entities to engage in transactions involving Iran that are authorized under GLH, and making available to foreign entities they own or control certain automated and globally integrated business support systems.

Please be advised, however, that with the exception of activities authorized in GLH, the prohibition on facilitation by United States persons under the current U.S. sanctions law (ITSR) will remain in effect.

 

General License Authorizing the Importation of Iranian-Origin Carpets and Foodstuffs

OFAC has issued a regulatory amendment to the ITSR, effective upon publication in the Federal Register, to authorize the importation into the United States of Iranian-origin carpets and foodstuffs, including pistachios and caviar.

This authorization covers: (i) carpets and other textile floor coverings and carpets used as wall hangings that are classified under chapter 57 or heading 9706.00.0060 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States, and (ii) foodstuffs intended for human consumption that are classified under chapters 2-23 of the HTS.83

Carpets and foodstuffs authorized for importation pursuant to the general license are still subject to all other laws and regulations applicable to goods imported into the United States, including generally applicable laws and regulations administered by other departments and agencies, such as the Departments of Agriculture or Commerce, the Food and Drug Administration, or Customs and Border Protection.

In addition, under an accompanying provision, U.S. depository institutions are authorized to process letters of credit for payments for Iranian-origin carpets and foodstuffs, and U.S. persons are authorized to act as brokers for the purchase or sale of Iranian-origin carpets and foodstuffs authorized to be imported into the United States under the general license.

With the exception of the three categories of activities described above, the sanctions lifted on Implementation Day do not apply to U.S. persons and entities. Therefore U.S. persons and U.S. companies continue to be broadly prohibited from engaging in transactions or dealings with Iran and the Government of Iran unless such activities are exempt from regulation or authorized by OFAC.

Please be advised that this article is intended to provide general information regarding the current U.S. sanctions law and is not intended to serve as a substitute for legal advice. For more specific information regarding the current sanctions regulations and your case, please speak to an experienced attorney.

Please feel free to contact our firm with any questions at 310-780-6360 or by email via our website www.yazdanyarlaw.com.

 

 

 

 

Most Iranian-Americans are aware of the fact that certain types of fund transfers relating to Iran are permitted under the current Iran sanctions as administered by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

For example, per Section 560.550 of the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (the ITSR), the receipt of non-commercial family money from Iran is currently permitted. Similarly, as outlined in Section 560.543 of ITSR, the sale of real property in Iran and transfer of real property proceeds from Iran to the United States is permitted under the current regulations, provided that the real property at issue was acquired before an individual became a U.S. person or was inherited from persons in Iran after an individual became a U.S. person.

While these transactions are indeed allowed, the fact that there is no banking relationship between Iran and the U.S. still creates an issue that must be addressed. As a result, the only acceptable way to transfer funds from Iran to the U.S. is by using the services of a currency exchange broker in Iran (often referred to as a “sarafi”). When using the services of a money exchange broker, one is in essence selling the Iranian currency (rials/toman) to the broker in Iran and purchasing U.S. dollars to be delivered in the United States. Currency exchange brokers use one of two methods to deliver funds: 1) the broker can wire the funds to the United States via a third country bank or 2) the broker can find a customer or an agent to deposit the funds directly into the recipient’s account in the United States via cash, check, money order or bank transfer. However, this second method of transfer is VERY dangerous in that the recipient does not know who is depositing the funds and whether that person is engaging in any illegal activity.

Furthermore, this type of internal wire transfer has recently led to many cases of fraud resulting in the recipient’s funds being seized and their accounts being closed. In some cases, the recipient has even been investigated by the bank at issue or by various law enforcement agencies.

Our office has seen an increase in this type of investigation in this past year. From what we can deduce, the broker in Iran often works with another third-party broker who has agents in the United States. That agent or representative is supposed to deposit the funds into the recipient’s account in the United States. Instead of doing so however, the agent calls unsuspecting people in the United States posing as an IRS agent and proceeds to tell the caller that he or she is delinquent in payments to the government and that, if they don’t immediately pay the amount due, they will be arrested. They then provide your account number for the deposit. The agent placing the call is often very convincing and the receiver of the call sincerely believes that they are in trouble. As a result, they immediately go into the bank and make a cash, check or money order deposit into the recipient’s account.

In this scheme, the recipient thinks that the deposit is related to the funds coming from Iran and the third-party broker and/or agent ends up taking all of the money (instead of a small percentage that they are entitled to). Resulting in some poor person being defrauded out of their hard earned money. Eventually the defrauded individual realizes that this was a scam and contacts the bank/or local authorities, which then leads to an investigation of the recipient’s account. This investigation often starts at the bank level and then escalates to involve local and in some cases federal law enforcement agencies.

Given that the funds were deposited into the recipient’s account, the recipient appears to be a part of the fraud ring and becomes a prime suspect. Therefore, his or her account(s) will often be frozen or blocked during the duration of the investigation.

In most cases, our office has been able to successfully show that our clients were innocent and that they, too, were a victim of fraud. However, depending how far the matter escalates, this process could take months or even years and it may result in the recipient losing a portion of the funds.

You can protect yourself against these types of money transmittal problems by educating yourself on the legal and proper channels of transferring funds from Iran to the U.S. Fund transfers from Iran should be deposited into a recipient’s account via a wire transfer from a third country and NEVER from inside the United States. Also, before receiving the funds, the recipient should ensure that he or she has filed the proper compliance documents with his or her bank in the United States. For more information regarding this process, please contact our firm at 310-780-6360 or by email via our website www.yazdanyarlaw.com.

On April 2, 2015, the parameters for a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) by the P5+1 and Iran were announced to the world. This announcement has led many Iranian-Americans to believe there will be an immediate suspension or termination of U.S. sanctions on Iran.  However, this is not true. The only sanctions relief in force is the relief provided pursuant to the JPOA reached on November 24, 2013 and extended through June 30, 201. Therefore, as of today and until a JCPOA is concluded, all U.S. sanctions remain in place and will continue to be enforced by the U.S. government. The article below provides a brief summary of pertinent aspects of the current U.S. sanctions against Iran.

The Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is the government agency responsible for administering and enforcing U.S. economic sanctions programs against countries and groups of individuals viewed as a threat to the United States. The main body of U.S. sanctions law pertaining to Iran is known as the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. Part 560, or ITSR (formerly known as the Iranian Transactions Regulations or ITR). Contrary to popular belief, the Iran sanctions have been in existence for decades and are not a recent legal development. What has happened, however, is that in recent years, we have seen the U.S. government enforce the sanctions regulations more aggressively than at any other point in history. For this reason, more Iranian-Americans have been more directly impacted by the regulations and therefore more Iranian-Americans have become aware of the issue.

In general, the goal of OFAC’s sanctions programs against Iran has been to prohibit “U.S. persons” (i.e. citizens and legal permanent residents) from engaging in transactions with the government of Iran, with persons in Iran, or in transactions where the benefit is realized in Iran thereby putting pressure on and crippling Iran’s economy. However, we have seen in the past years that these sanctions have also had a grave impact on Iranian-Americans living in the United States. In some instances, citizens and legal residents have inadvertently found themselves in possible violation of federal laws either because they were not aware of the law or did not understand the scope of the regulations. In other cases, individuals who seemingly acted within the law have had bank accounts closed, been stopped or harassed by various U.S. government officials upon entering the United States, been questioned by the Federal Bureau of Investigations, been arrested, been prosecuted and, in the worst of cases, even imprisoned. However, if Iranian-Americans can educate themselves on the law, they will be able to take steps to protect themselves against needless legal complications.

According to OFAC’s regulations, U.S. persons as defined above, are prohibited from engaging in any and all financial transactions and importation/exportation of goods and services from/to Iran unless OFAC has issued a license permitting the transaction.

An OFAC license allows an individual or entity to engage in an activity that would otherwise be prohibited. In general, OFAC issues two types of licenses: general and specific. A general license is when OFAC states that a certain activity is permitted for all U.S. persons. In that case, if the conduct or transaction at issue falls within the scope of the general license, then any person or entity may engage in that conduct and/or transaction and no specific license or authorization from OFAC will be necessary.

If an individual or entity wishes to engage in an activity that is not generally licensed, then that that individual or entity will need to apply for a specific license that will specifically authorize that person or entity to carry out the conduct at issue.

The following are general licenses issued by OFAC that generally allow U.S. persons to engage in certain types of transactions with Iran. Please be advised that this a is a short list focusing on the types of transactions most Iranian-Americans inquire about. The complete list is too exhaustive to be addressed one article.

Non-Commercial Personal Remittances: The receipt of non-commercial family money from Iran has always been authorized under OFAC’s regulations. However, Section 560.550 of the ITSR clarifies the procedure for such transfers. According to the current regulations, non-commercial personal remittance (such as an inheritance or gift from family members) to or from Iran is authorized if the transfer is processed by a United States depository institution or United States registered broker or dealer in securities; the transfer does not involve debiting or crediting an Iranian account; the transfer is not by, to, or through the Government of Iran.

The Sale of Certain Real Property: Section 560.543 of ITSR generally authorizes individuals who are U.S. persons to engage in transactions necessary and ordinarily incident to the sale of physical property in Iran and to transfer the proceeds to the United States. Please note that such real property must have been acquired either before the individual became a U.S. person, or it must have been inherited from persons in Iran. Authorized transactions include, but are not limited to, hiring an attorney, funds agent, and real estate broker.

General License D-1: authorizes the exportation and re-exportation of hardware and software goods/services related to personal communication to Iran. Under this general license, the exportation of the following goods/services is permitted:

  • Fee-Based Services: webhosting; internet connectivity
  • Fee-Based Software
  • List of hardware products: mobile phones; tablets; consumer grade modems; residential grade satellite connectors. For a more complete list please contact our office via our website www.yazdanyarlaw.com
  • Must be consumer grade: commercial grade services NOT permitted
  • Chatting; photo sharing; movie sharing; social networking
  • Importation of software and hardware previously exported to Iran
  • Publically available no cost services to the government of Iran

General License E: authorizes the support of certain humanitarian activities in Iran related to humanitarian projects to meet basic human needs in Iran. These activities include the following:

  • the provision of donated health-related services;
  • operation of orphanages;
  • provision of relief services related to natural disasters;
  • distribution of donated articles, such as food, clothing, and medicine, intended to be used to relieve human suffering;
  • donated training related to any of the foregoing activities;

General license E also authorizes certain activities related to non-commercial reconstruction projects in response to natural disasters in Iran for a period of up to two years following the natural disaster as well as activities related to environmental and wildlife conservation projects in Iran, involving endangered species of fauna and flora and their supporting habitats; and (hefzeh mohiteh zist)

And finally, General License E authorizes activities related to human rights and democracy building projects in Iran. Please note, however, that the transfer of funds for these permitted activities may not exceed USD$500,000 in the aggregate over a 12-month period.

Agricultural commodities and medical devices: § 560.530 of the ITSR generally authorizes the commercial sales, exportation, and reexportation of certain agricultural commodities, medicine, and medical devices meant for the use of the people of Iran (not the government). The list of permitted items may be found on OFAC’s website. You may also request a list of permitted items from our office by emailing us through our website at www.yazdanyarlaw.com

Please note that OFAC publishes a list of individuals and companies owned or controlled by, or acting for or on behalf of, targeted countries. It also lists individuals, groups, and entities, such as terrorists and narcotics traffickers designated under programs that are not country-specific. Collectively, such individuals and companies are called “Specially Designated Nationals” or “SDNs.” Their assets are blocked and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from dealing with them.  You may never deal with SDNs; not even when engaging in generally or specifically authorized conduct. You may access this link at: http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/SDN-List/Pages/default.aspx

It is important to realize that, even when you are dealing with transactions that are authorized by general licenses issued by OFAC, you may still have to take certain legal steps to protect yourself against unintended legal consequences. This is mainly because of the fact that there is no transparent and direct way of sending and/or receiving money or goods between Iran and the United States. As a result, from the U.S. side, it is often difficult for banks and/or government agencies to determine the exact source of funds and/or goods.

For example, as stated above, the receipt of non-commercial money from Iran is legal. Similarly, so are the sale of real property and the transfer of real property proceeds from Iran to the United States. However, as you may know, there is no way to directly send money from Iran to the United States via banks. The only way to send money is through the use of currency exchange brokers (sarrafis). When one sends money via a currency exchange broker, one gives rials to the broker in Iran and purchases “arzeh havalehi” to be wired to the U.S. from a third country. The broker then sends the funds from someone’s account from a third country bank (such as from the Emirates, Europe, China, Kuwait etc). On the U.S. side, the banks can only see money being wired to the recipient’s account from an unrelated account from a third country. The bank has no way of knowing the source of the funds and whether the transaction is permitted or if the transaction required a license. Therefore, to protect themselves, U.S. banks often take steps ranging from rejecting the funds, reporting the transaction to the government, and/or freezing the bank account. In order to avoid these problems, one must take certain legal steps to report such transactions to the appropriate department of your U.S. bank.

Similarly, if you intend to export generally licensed items to Iran, you may need to provide your bank, shipping companies as well as suppliers with certain legal documents that outline the regulations and legality of the underlying transactions. For more information on what steps to take, please contact our office.

And finally, many Iranian-Americans ask if they are allowed to receive funds from Iran by internal transfers from within the US. This means that, instead of receiving a wire from a third country, the recipient would get an internal wire transfer, check or cash deposit from someone inside the United States. In return, that person’s family in Iran would give the dollar equivalent of rials to the appropriate party in Iran. This type of transfer is not permitted and you should never receive funds from Iran in this matter.

As you know, OFAC’s regulations and the current Iran sanctions are extremely complicated. As a result, the application and impact of laws can vary widely based on the specific facts involved. As such, the information contained within this article is for general guidance on matters of interest only. Please be advised that this information should not be used as a substitute for legal counsel. For more specific information on the Iran sanctions, please seek legal counsel from an Iran sanctions specialist.

For a Persian translation of the above text, please click on the following: Iran Sanctions Article Rahavard 2015