Is Iran Open for Business for U.S. Exporters?

by Baker Donelson
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On August 7, 2015, the U.S. Government issued a revised Guidance regarding Iran and also issued a Third Amended Statement of Licensing Policy on Activities Related to the Safety of Iran’s Civil Aviation Industry. The bottom line is that the U.S. Government will continue to temporarily suspend certain sanctions listed below. However, most of these suspensions involve non-U.S. Persons. If you are a U.S. Person you can continue to use the AG/Med exception to sell agricultural and medical products and devices to Iran. Or, you can apply for a special license to potentially export to Iran. The revised regulations open up  licensing for U.S. Persons in the aviation industry.

The new policy allows:

  • Iran’s purchase and sale of gold and precious metals, and associated services, by non-U.S. persons not otherwise subject to the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (ITSR);
  • Iran’s export of petrochemical products, and any associated services, by non-U.S. persons not otherwise subject to the ITSR;
  • The sale, supply or transfer to Iran of goods and services used in connection with Iran’s automotive industry, and certain associated services, by non-U.S. persons not otherwise subject to the ITSR;
  • Iran’s Export of Crude Oil. The USG will not seek further reductions in Iran’s crude oil sales, enabling Iran’s current customers – China, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Taiwan, and Turkey – to purchase their current average amounts of crude oil, and will enable Iran to access an agreed amount of Restricted Funds.
  • Humanitarian and Certain Other Transactions. The USG will continue to coordinate with Iran regarding the establishment of financial channels to facilitate Iran’s import of certain humanitarian goods, including food, agricultural products, medicine, and medical devices, the payment of medical expenses incurred by Iranians abroad, payments of Iran’s UN obligations, and payments of $400 million in governmental tuition assistance for Iranian students studying abroad.
  • Iran Civil Aviation. The USG will also continue its favorable licensing policy under which U.S. persons, U.S.-owned or -controlled foreign entities, and non-U.S. persons involved in the export of U.S.-origin goods can request specific licensing authorization from OFAC to engage in transactions to ensure the safe operation of Iranian commercial passenger aircraft, including transactions involving Iran Air. These activities include, but are not limited to, the exportation and reexportation of: services related to the inspection of commercial aircraft and parts in Iran or a third country; services related to the repair or servicing of commercial aircraft in Iran or a third country; and goods or technology, including spare parts, to Iran or a third country.

As always, unless otherwise noted, these relief measures do not include transactions with persons on the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control’s (OFAC) List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (the SDN List). Individuals interested in providing parts and services relating to Iran’s Civil Aviation should carefully review the Third Amended SLP to determine if their contemplated transaction is consistent with its provisions. Note that all specific licenses that: (1) were issued pursuant to OFAC’s Second Amended Statement of Licensing Policy on Activities Related to the Safety of Iran’s Civil Aviation Industry, and (2) have an expiration date on or before July 14, 2015, are authorized to remain in effect according to their terms until Implementation Day.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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