Iran

A D.C. Circuit Court of Appeal’s panel recently issued a key opinion affirming the U.S. Treasury Department’s broad ability to enforce sanctions regulations through its Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”).  While the court ultimately set aside a $4.07 million penalty, the decision established critical precedent for export compliance and future OFAC enforcement actions.  Significantly, the court ruled that OFAC does not have to prove that a company’s exports actually reached a sanctioned destination in order to impose penalties for sanctions violations. Rather, OFAC simply has to show that a company knew or had reason to know that through its third-party distributor, the company’s exported goods would ultimately end up in a sanctioned country.  (more…)

You may not have heard of the Office of Export Enforcement (OEE), but if you or your subsidiary are doing business abroad, you should take note. Last month, the OEE, which is part of the Department of Commerce’s Bureau for Industry and Security (BIS), raided the U.S. headquarters of a company whose European subsidiary is suspected of violating U.S. export control and sanctions laws. (more…)

On March 7, we learned that Zhongxing Telecommunications Equipment Corporation (ZTE) concluded 3 settlement agreements that could result in penalties as high as $1.2 billion for its violations of U.S. sanctions and export controls laws. Although the amount of the fines results from particularly egregious conduct on the part of ZTE to conceal its violations even during the period of investigation,  the case highlights three valuable lessons for all exporters. This is especially true given Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross’s pronouncement that the case signals the new Administration will be “aggressively enforcing strong trade policies with the dual purpose of protecting American national security and protecting American workers.” (more…)

If you are a foreign company that wants access to the U.S. financial markets, make sure you  understand the U.S. Iran Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (ITSR). Administered by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the ITSR, unlike other sanctions programs, contain secondary sanctions that apply to non-U.S. persons for wholly non-U.S. conduct that may occur entirely outside U.S. jurisdiction. Even if you are not doing business with Iran, several companies and individuals, many of whom are not Iranian, have been listed under the sanctions program, including 25 more added earlier this month. (more…)

In the final weeks of December, President Obama amended sanctions to both the Iran and Russia programs. These changes further relaxed sanctions on Iran while they tightened sanctions on Russia (see our client advisory). Yet, just three days from the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump, exporters are no doubt wondering what the new president will do with regard to these changes and other sanctions relief that has come to pass under the Obama administration. (more…)

Further weakening secondary sanctions, the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control has issued a new license to allow non-U.S. persons to fly some U.S. aircraft to Iran for temporary  sojourn. While General License J only applies to fixed-wing airplanes and imposes a number of conditions that must be met in order for non U.S.-persons to fly to Iran, the new license may mark the start of new opportunities for the civil aviation industry in Iran. (more…)

Iran is a market of 90 million with a young population.  In addition to agricultural products, medicine and medical devices, the U.S. Government has opened up certain Iranian industries to U.S. businesses and foreign entities owned and controlled by U. S. parties can now do business with Iran.  However, there are still restrictions not allowing the the involvement of U.S. parties.  There are two things you need to do. (more…)

On August 7, 2015, the U.S. Government issued a revised Guidance regarding Iran and also issued a Third Amended Statement of Licensing Policy on Activities Related to the Safety of Iran’s Civil Aviation Industry.  The bottom line is that the U.S. Government will continue to temporarily suspend certain sanctions listed below.  However, most of these suspensions involve non-U.S. Persons. If you are a U.S. Person you can continue to use the AG/Med exception to sell agricultural and medical products and devices to Iran.  Or, you can apply for a special license to potentially export to Iran. The revised regulations open up  licensing for U.S. Persons in the aviation industry. (more…)

Iran entered into a historic nuclear agreement with the U.S. and other world powers on July 14th 2015. The agreement will allow the licensing of the export, re-export, sale, lease or transfer to Iran of commercial passenger aircraft for commercial and civil aviation use. The deal also grants the export of spare parts and components for commercial passenger aircraft.  It is reported that Iran is looking to replace hundreds of commercial aircraft. (more…)