Since President Biden took office and put his national security team in place, we have wondered about the future of the Iran Nuclear Deal. In the past weeks, the Biden Administration has taken formal steps to possibly restore the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (i.e., JCPOA or Iran Nuclear Deal).
Continue Reading JCPO-Wait-A-Minute: How New Talks Between the U.S. and Iran Could Revive the Iran Nuclear Deal

The Prohibitions

On May 8, 2018, the United States withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and reimposed all pre-JCPOA sanctions against Iran. We provide a detailed discussion of the reimposition in our article linked here (and linked here is our prediction, a year earlier, that it would happen). After a prescribed wind-down period, all U.S. sanctions on Iran are now in force. Effectively, U.S. sanctions on Iran now return to their pre-2016 levels, including secondary sanctions on non-U.S. companies transacting with the Government of Iran and many of Iran’s industries and financial institutions.
Continue Reading CLIENT ALERT: Iran Sanctions Are Back On: Can Business Continue?

Imagine telling your company’s Board of Directors that the company will have to knowingly violate the law. Further, you might note, the American Law Institute’s Principles of Corporate Governance state that, with very limited exceptions, a director who knowingly causes the corporation to disobey the law violates his duty of care. The protections of the Business Judgement Rule may not be available to a board member who, charged with navigating the Scylla and Charybdis of a conflict of laws, steers right into the shoals of noncompliance.

Beginning August 6, that will be the situation facing the thousands of companies that are subject to U.S. sanctions on Iran and to EU regulations blocking those sanctions. While it appears to be a stark choice, some nuances to the regulations may make navigating the narrow straights of the conflict of laws a less Odyssean and more practically manageable.
Continue Reading Stuck in the Middle With You: EU Blocking Statutes, Iran Sanctions, and the Thousands of Businesses Caught In Between

HERE WE ANSWER A FEW OF THE QUESTIONS THAT YOU MAY HAVE

What does decertification mean?

For the time being, decertification is a solely U.S. issue. Under the Iran nuclear agreement (known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA), Iran agreed to limits on its nuclear program in exchange for relief from U.S. and UN sanctions. Soon after the JCPOA was signed, the U.S. Congress passed the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (INARA). That law requires the president to certify to Congress every 90 days that Iran is meeting the terms of the nuclear agreement and that continuing to waive sanctions on Iran is vital to the security interests of the United States. Today, he decertified Iran under INARA on the grounds that continuing to waive sanctions is not in the national security interests of the United States.
Continue Reading Today, President Trump Decertified the Iran Deal and Announced Tougher Sanctions on Iran

On July 17, 2017, the U.S. State Department certified that Iran continues to meet the conditions of the Iran nuclear agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA. As a result, for the next 90 days, the United States will maintain significant reductions in its sanctions against Iran as provided in the JCPOA. Among other things, those provisions allow non-U.S. companies to do business in Iran. The State Department’s action signals that for now, State believes that the JCPOA is the right U.S. policy toward Iran.
Continue Reading One Year From Now, You May Be Out of Iran: Trump Administration Policy and the Timeline for Snapback

As a candidate for President, Donald J. Trump was widely reported to despise the Iran nuclear agreement, which is known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. As President, he responded to reports of Iranian missile tests by putting Iran “on notice.” While observers have speculated whether that portends a naval escalation in the Persian Gulf or the Gulf of Aden, or perhaps some form of probation, the most likely next steps in our view will not include tearing up the nuclear agreement.
Continue Reading Predicting the Unpredictable: Will President Trump Tear Up the Iran Nuclear Deal?

  • A President Trump will have authority to reinstate sanctions lifted by the Iran Nuclear Deal as well as revoke certain authorizations provided for business with Iran.
  • Several economic and geopolitical factors may cause Mr. Trump to reconsider or mitigate his approach to the Iran Nuclear Deal.
  • Companies should prepare to respond quickly to any changes.

Maybe you’ve seen it before, the series of characters that represents upsetting the whole game, flipping the table:

(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

These days, where words fail, we have emojis.  And here they describe what a President Trump may do to the carefully planned Iran Nuclear Deal. One year after the implementation of the Iran Nuclear Deal (much discussed, at least in our blog), Mr. Trump will take office. At that time, we will see whether his campaign rhetoric against Iran becomes policy action or whether it will be tempered by geopolitical and business realities.


Continue Reading The Table Flip: Trump, the Iran Nuclear Deal, and American Business

Article Highlights:

  • Non-U.S. banks can do business with Iran and continue their relationships with U.S. banks.
  • Non-U.S. companies may use proceeds from Iran transactions more freely, including in the United States.
  • OFAC draws a clearer line with respect to the use of Iran-related funds.

After the Iran nuclear agreement, as non-U.S. companies entered into newly-permitted business in Iran, they faced the difficult question of where they could put the money from their Iran business. U.S. law still prohibits U.S. persons (including U.S. banks) from conducting most business with Iran. Among other rules, OFAC regulations and guidance provided that “Iran-related” funds could not transit the U.S. financial system. But the guidance did not state clearly what constituted “Iran-related” funds. For that reason, foreign financial institutions (FFIs) hesitated, even feared, to process Iran-related transactions because of the risks of sending Iran-related funds into the U.S. financial system in violation of U.S. sanctions. However, a new clarification in the OFAC guidance could change all of that (and change it in the way we proposed right here in this blog[1]).


Continue Reading Those Three Little Words: OFAC’s Subtle Language Shift Could Create Sweeping Change on Iran Investment

Highlights:

  • Sanctions relief presents new business opportunities with Iran
  • Most U.S. companies are still prohibited from Iran business, but the U.S. government is encouraging lawful business by non-U.S. companies
  • The line between permitted and prohibited financial transactions by non-U.S. banks is not clear
  • Careful advice of counsel is critical


Continue Reading New Business Opportunities in Iran! But Who Will Be Your Banker? Non-U.S. Banks Hesitant to Process Lawful Iran Transactions…and for Good Reason

On January 16, 2016, two NFL playoff games and a historic revision of U.S. foreign policy took place. Many of us enjoyed the first two (did you see that last-second touchdown pass?!) but did not pay close attention as the United States lifted many of its secondary sanctions against Iran. Even those normally attentive to sanctions news had already heard (including by reading and excitedly discussing this blog) that things were not going to change that much for U.S. persons.
Continue Reading Airplanes, Pistachios, and a New Burger Joint in Tehran: What Changes for the United States Under Lighter Iran Sanctions