CCTV Interviews Wynn Segall on Lifting of Iran Sanctions, Impact on U.S. Businesses

Akin Gump international trade partner Wynn Segall was interviewed by CCTV regarding the potential impact for businesses, as the United States lifts economic sanctions on Iran in the wake of the U.N. nuclear agency’s certification that the latter has met all of its commitments under the terms of 2015’s nuclear deal.

Segall said that there is considerable interest in investing in Iran. He noted, however, that the U.S. business community may feel great “frustration,” as only select sectors, such as agriculture and medicine, will be licensed for business. Further, the U.S. government will maintain its sanctions on individuals doing business with Iran. He said, “There are pockets of commercial opportunity, but what’s important also to recognize is the core U.S. embargo that we’re talking about not changing is grounded in legislation enacted by Congress. And, so, it would take an act of Congress to remove the most fundamental features of the U.S. embargo on Iran.”

He noted that one of the things that make the current situation frustrating is that foreign companies are helped more than U.S. companies. Further, discussing the fact that EU and U.S. sanctions could snap back to pre-existing levels should Iran break its deal, Segall said, “Right now, the risk is enormous because U.S. sanctions on Iran are comprehensive. They provide civil and criminal penalties and liabilities for companies that ignore them and get it wrong.”

Segall is quoted as saying that the financial services sector is wary of lending to companies doing business in Iran, but that U.S. energy companies are likely to continue to find Iran’s oil reserves attractive over the long term.