economic sanctions and embargoes

By: Scott Maberry and Matthew Riemer

In the final weeks of May, the U.S. Government engaged in a flurry of Iran sanctions activity, showing a continuing commitment to identifying and penalizing persons who do business with Iran.

Oil, Petrochemical, and Aircraft Industries.

On May 31, the U.S. Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) imposed sanctions on entities and individuals that are part of, or have done business with, Iran’s international procurement and proliferation operations.  The targeted entities include branches of the Iranian government (e.g., the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the Ministry of Defense for Armed Forces Logistics), several Iranian petrochemical companies, and a group of corporations and individuals in Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, and the United Arab Emirates that lease or sell aircraft to Iranian companies.  The sanctions were imposed pursuant to Executive Orders 13,382 (targeting proliferators and supporters of Iran’s weapons of mass destruction) and 13,599 (targeting the government of Iran).
Continue Reading OFAC Continues to Expand the Scope of Iranian Sanctions

By: Scott Maberry and Matthew Riemer

As we reported last month, the Obama administration continues to display a commitment to increasingly tough sanctions against Iran and its trading partners. Over the past few weeks, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) has published new regulations implementing certain sections of the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012 (“ITRA”) and various Executive Orders.
Continue Reading Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations Impose New Restrictions on U.S. Business in Iran

By: Thad McBride and Cheryl Palmeri

As we have reported in recent months, the United States consistently has been taking steps to expand diplomatic and commercial relations with Myanmar.  And in recent weeks, that effort has continued.

To begin with, on September 26, 2012, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Myanmar President Thein Sein that the United States intends to ease its ban on imports from Myanmar.  The import ban is the most significant remaining restriction on U.S. trade with Myanmar.  Lifting it is unlikely to unleash a flood of imports into the United States from Myanmar, but it will nonetheless be an important step to demonstrate that the United States really is ready to establish normal – or close to normal – trading relations with Myanmar.
Continue Reading Update on U.S.-Myanmar Relations: The Thaw Continues

By: Thad McBride, Reid Whitten, and Cheryl Palmeri

On May 21, the U.S. Treasury Department Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced a small but noteworthy enforcement settlement: a fine against a U.S. investment fund because the foreign subsidiary of that fund purchased Iranian securities.  It appears that OFAC’s enforcement action was not based on “facilitation” of a prohibited transaction with Iran, but rather on the U.S. parent’s failure to maintain sufficient controls to prevent its foreign subsidiary from conferring an economic benefit to Iran.  As a result, the U.S. investment manager, Genesis Asset Managers LLP (GAM US) will pay a civil penalty of $112,500.  
Continue Reading OFAC’s (Very) Long Arm: GAM Settlement May Illustrate the ITR’s Expanding Reach

By: Thad McBride and Mark Jensen

Since July 1, 2010, when the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 (CISADA) was enacted, there have been many developments under the law, as well as the recent passage of the complementary National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (NDAA).  The following timeline provides a summary of key actions related to the laws and U.S. sanctions on Iran more generally.
Continue Reading Peak Pressure: CISADA and NDAA Timeline

By: John M. Hynes

The U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) has issued welcome guidance for those wishing to provide personal communications services or software to individuals in Iran. On March 20, 2012, OFAC released interpretive guidance regarding the scope of the personal communications general and specific licenses found in Section 560.540 of the Iranian Transactions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 560 (“ITR”). On the same day, OFAC also revised the ITR definition of the term “entity owned or controlled by the Government of Iran”.

While the personal communications licenses remain limited in scope, OFAC’s new interpretive guidance should help exporters understand what specific services and software may be provided to individuals in Iran.
Continue Reading OFAC Provides Much Needed Guidance for Anyone Wishing to Export Personal Communications Services or Software to Iran

By: Scott Maberry

As illustrated by three recent export enforcement actions, when armed government enforcement agents come to your door with PowerPoint slides, pay close attention. On March 8, 2012, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Wyoming announced settlements of three related cases involving illegal exports to Syria. The cases involved an increasingly common enforcement tool, the U.S. government “outreach” visit.
Continue Reading Export Control Settlements Highlight the Need to Pay Attention During “Outreach” Visits