New Iran Sanctions May Impact Export Transactions

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On July 31, 2012, U.S. President Obama signed an Executive Order (E.O.) authorizing additional sanctions with respect to Iran.

Pursuant to the E.O., the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury and Secretary of State have been authorized to take action to prevent Iran from obtaining revenue from petroleum, petroleum products and petrochemicals for illicit purposes.

The E.O. authorizes the imposition on a foreign financial institution upon a determination that the foreign financial institution ". . . has knowingly conducted or facilitated any significant financial transaction . . . with the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) or Naftiran Intertrade Company (NICO) . . . [or] for the purchase or acquisition of petroleum or petroleum products from Iran" through any channel.

The E.O. also brings within the scope of sanctions new authority to impose sanctions on foreign financial institutions found to have knowingly conducted or facilitated significant transactions for the purchase or acquisition of petroleum products from Iran.

Finally, the E.O. provides further authority for Treasury to block the property and interests in property of any person determined to have "materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services in support of, NIOC, NICO, or the Central Bank of Iran, or the purchase or acquisition of U.S. bank notes or precious metals by the Government of Iran."

U.S. persons engaged in export transactions and financing of such transactions should be aware of the breadth and scope of the sanctions currently extant against Iran (U.S., European Union and United Nations). When in doubt, they should consider consulting with cognizant representatives of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), visiting OFAC's webpage and examining the various lists that have been promulgated that may have an impact on export transactions directly or indirectly affecting Iran. These lists include the Specially Designated Nationals List, the List of Foreign Financial Institutions Subject to Part 561 (31 CFR), etc.