The Legal Quagmire of "Relaxed" Sanctions Against Iran
Firm Principal Steve Simms recently explained in an article for Bunkerspot that although the US government removed some sanctions against Iran on January, 16, 2016, there remain some obstacles and concerns for companies interested in doing business with Iran. The US policy regarding sanctions against Iran is made intentionally unclear. The policy keeps those seeking to do business with Iran-related entities playing a guessing game as to which types of transactions are permissible. In general, if the company involved in a transaction with an Iran-related entity is a “US person,” they are still subject to sanctions for trading with Iran. However, foreign entities owned or controlled by “US persons” may generally engage with Iranian entities within the confines of US regulations. To prevent a foreign owned company controlled by US persons from being subject to sanctions, it is important to make sure that payment is not made in US dollars, no US person is involved in the transaction, no person or entity on the List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons, the Foreign Sanctions Evaders, and/or the Non-SDN Iran Sections Act List is involved in the transaction, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is not involved in the transaction, and the transaction does not involve any of a number of US “Designation Authorities.”
In making sure that a transaction with an Iranian entity is not subject to sanctions, knowing the identity of the counterparty is helpful but not always possible. Non-US bunker suppliers and traders may be involved with fueling vessels to and from Iran, but the US financial system may not be involved if there is to be a sale to or purchase from an Iranian person or entity. Another provision to be aware of is the “snap-back” provision, which permits the re-imposition of all US sanctions against Iran within 30 days after a determination that Iran has breached the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
Ultimately, while it is possible to do business with Iranian entities with the partial lift of the US sanctions against Iran, companies must take necessary precautions to make sure they are complying with the complicated parameters of the sanctions lift. For guidance on whether potential business activities are permissible under the new sanctions lift, it is best to seek the advice of legal counsel.
For more information about the the relaxing of sanctions against Iran and doing business with Iranian entities, read a full copy of the article here.