I will start by saying I am a proud Francophile. I love many things about French culture; from the just-right draw of their espresso (sorry, Italy, that ristretto is just too short and bitter) to the sacrosanct treatment of time for leisure and family. Indeed, most attempts by the country to preserve la vie Française are idealistic efforts to protect what … Continue Reading
2013 was a banner year for the U.S. sanctions program against Iran. For the first time in recent history, not all of the big Iran news involved new restrictions and prohibitions. True, there were plenty of those, especially during the beginning of the year as the U.S. government implemented legislation passed in 2012. But the … Continue Reading
By: Mark Jensen
In a series of recent rulings, the European Court of Justice overturned economic sanctions issued by the Council of the European Union (EU) on several Iranian banks and shipping lines. On September 6 and 16, 2013, the Court halted sanctions on Persia International Bank plc, Bank Refah Kargaran, Export Development Bank of Iran, Post Bank Iran, Iranian Offshore Engineering & Construction Co., Iran Insurance Company, Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL), Khazar Shipping Lines, and Good Luck Shipping. The EU had sanctioned these entities for their support of nuclear proliferation activities in Iran, but the Court determined that the EU lacked sufficient evidence to introduce such sanctions. The cases are notable for their effect on global sanctions against Iran, although it seems unlikely that U.S. sanctions against Iran would be lifted on similar grounds.… Continue Reading
On February 6, 2013, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) published two guidance documents related to the Iranian sanctions regulations and licenses. The first is Guidance on Humanitarian Assistance and Related Exports to the Iranian People. While the guidance is simply an overview of previously-issued exceptions, the publication is nonetheless an indication of Washington’s efforts to encourage those projects and transactions that benefit the Iranian people directly.
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By: J. Scott Maberry and Matthew Riemer
In the months since the signing of the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act (which we will stubbornly continue to refer to here as “ITRA”), the Obama administration has worked to implement tougher sanctions against Iran. Although many of the ITRA regulations are not expected until early November, an Executive Order issued last week marked the beginning of a much stricter era of sanctions pursuant to ITRA, the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996 (ISA), and the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 (CISADA).… Continue Reading
By: Thad McBride
While the United States has long maintained sanctions on Iran and has expanded those sanctions several times recently, none of those recent actions has had such a direct impact on U.S. companies as the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act that President Obama signed into on August 10, 2012 (the “Act”). The Act creates new Iran sanctions, and provides for new sanctions on persons deemed to be involved in committing or supporting human rights abuses in Syria, including, in certain cases, non-Syrian parties.
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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
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
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
By: Neil Ray and Curtis Dombek
The risks of trading with Iran have never been greater. U.S. and European authorities, in particular, are scrutinizing exports to Iran more closely than ever under both sanctions and export control laws. On January 23, 2012, the Council of the European Union (EU) adopted an unprecedented package of sanctions complementing the existing EU sanctions against Iran. The new sanctions reflect the EU’s deepening concern over the nature of Iran’s nuclear program. The new measures include: … Continue Reading
By: David Gallacher and Thaddeus McBride
In 2011, the world experienced historic events, particularly with regard to the Arab Spring and the violent repression that followed in nations like Libya and Syria. 2011 witnessed the expansion of a number of international sanctions programs, most particularly tied to political developments in countries such as Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan, Cuba, and North Korea. Following is a summary of key developments in U.S. sanctions during 2011, as well as a brief look ahead at what may happen in 2012 in countries such as Iran, Yemen, and Myanmar (Burma).
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By:Thad McBride and Mark L. JensenIntroduction: On October 24, 2011, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit released an opinion in United States v. Banki, No. 10-3381 (2d Cir. Oct. 24, 2011) that reversed convictions of Defendant Mahmoud Reza Banki on charges of conspiring to violate the Iranian Transaction Regulations (“ITR”) and aiding and abetting violations of the ITR. In doing so, the Court contradicted the position of the U.S. Government in a manner that may have important consequences for how the Government pursues sanctions enforcement matters going forward. … Continue Reading
By: Reid Whitten and Corey Phelps
On June 2, 2011, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed a new state law prohibiting Florida government entities from contracting with companies invested in Iran’s petroleum energy sector. Florida’s law, and a similar California law that went into effect on June 1, 2011, announce a coming trend of state laws targeting potential contractors that also deal with Iran. These two laws, and several others on the horizon, present pitfalls for unwary companies as well as unique opportunities for informed, well-advised businesses. … Continue Reading