On January 13, 2017, the Obama administration announced that it would lift sanctions imposed on Sudan issued under the Sudanese Sanctions Regulations (SSR), which are administered by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). The action reverses nearly 20 years of U.S. policy toward Sudan, a country that had been the target of a comprehensive trade embargo due to human rights abuses and support for international terrorism. The United States has stated that its decision comes after months of bilateral engagement with Sudan, which has revealed that country’s support for key U.S. foreign policy goals, such as ceasing hostilities in conflict areas, including Darfur, and enhancing counterterrorism cooperation.
On October 7, 2016, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) published new guidance clarifying (a) circumstances under which non-U.S. financial institutions (FFIs) may engage in U.S. dollar transactions involving Iran; (b) when residual “secondary” U.S. sanctions on Iran can affect transactions involving affiliates of Iranian Specially Designated National (SDNs); and (c) U.S. government expectations for conduct of compliance screening and due diligence in Iran-related transactions otherwise permissible under U.S. sanctions relief implemented pursuant to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA or “the Agreement”) in January 2016.
On July 29, 2016, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued a new General License J (GL-J). GL-J authorizes the reexportation of certain civil aircraft on temporary sojourn to Iran, as well as related transactions involving the reexportation of spare parts, components and technology to Iran. GL-J therefore provides long-needed authorization for commercial passenger and cargo airline operators to fly into and out of Iran using aircraft subject to U.S. export controls. The authorizations contained in GL-J are subject to certain conditions, which are outlined below.
On March 24, 2016, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued General License I authorizing U.S. persons to undertake certain transactions ordinarily incident to the negotiation of, and entry into, contingent contracts for licensable activities under OFAC’s Statement of Licensing Policy for Activities Related to the Export or Re-export to Iran of Commercial Passenger Aircraft and Related Parts and Services (SLP). OFAC also updated its FAQs on sanctions relief under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA or “Iran Nuclear Deal”) to address inquiries related to General License I and provide additional guidance on license applications pursuant to the SLP. These actions reflect ongoing OFAC efforts to implement sanctions relief under the Iran Nuclear Deal (see our January 19, 2016, and January 21, 2016, alerts for further details) and to account for business realities that companies encounter in securing sales of commercial passenger aircraft and related parts and services in the Iranian market.
On January 16, 2016, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) verified, and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry confirmed, that Iran had implemented its key nuclear-related measures described in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA or the “Agreement”). This event triggered “Implementation Day” under the Agreement, which commences the suspension and/or easing of U.N., U.S. and EU nuclear-related sanctions, and marks a historic milestone in the long-standing international sanctions against Iran. Still, a day after Implementation Day, the United States imposed additional sanctions on Iran over its ballistic missile program, which emphasizes the importance of navigating the remaining restrictions in connection with any contemplated Iran-related activities.
On January 16, 2016, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) verified, and U.S. Secretary of State Kerry confirmed, that Iran had implemented its key nuclear-related measures described in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA or the “Agreement”). This event triggered “Implementation Day” under the Agreement, which commences the suspension and/or easing of UN, U.S. and EU nuclear-related sanctions.
On November 2, 2015, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) updated the List of Medical Supplies eligible for export or reexport to Iran under the general license set forth at Section 560.530(a)(3)(i) of the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 560 (ITSR). The updated list includes more than 60 additional items that are now eligible for export under the general license. This development provides greater opportunities for businesses to engage in permissible sales of medical equipment to Iran and should reduce the number of specific license applications required of medical device exporters.
On October 18, 2015, the day on which the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) became effective (“Adoption Day”), the U.S. Department of State (“State Department”) issued contingent waivers of certain extraterritorial sanctions targeting non-U.S. persons that engage in certain transactions with Iran, pursuant to the terms of the JCPOA. Importantly, these waivers are not currently in effect and will take effect only when Iran has fulfilled its nuclear commitments under the JCPOA (i.e., “Implementation Day”). Furthermore, these waivers do not apply to non-U.S. persons that are owned or controlled by U.S. persons (e.g., foreign subsidiaries of U.S. companies). Although the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is expected to issue a General License that will permit non-U.S. persons that are owned or controlled by U.S. persons to engage in activities “consistent with the JCPOA,” the terms of this General License are not yet available.