Archive for the ‘Iran Sanctions’ Category



BIS Takes the Gloves Off

Posted by Clif Burns at 10:41 pm on February 5, 2014
Category: BISIran Sanctions

Nitrotough Gloves [Fair Use]New Jersey based Ansell, maker of, among other things, protective gloves and protective, er, intimate apparel, was fined $190,000 in connection with the shipment of $73,700 of protective gloves to Iran. A French company affiliated with Ansell was also fined $190,000 in connection with these shipments.

The most interesting part of this case is the evasion charge under § 764.2(h) that BIS tacked on. Basically BIS charged that evasion occurred because the company transshipped the gloves through the UAE. Of course, most cases involving shipping to embargoed countries involve transhipment through a third country — usually the UAE — and yet BIS does not normally charge evasion in those cases, as it did not in this case. The charging documents here contain an extensive description of communications among the employees involved discussing the need to use a “middle company” in a third country to get around the embargo, so this may have been the motivating factor, although such discussions more normally used as a basis for adding an “acting with knowledge” charge under § 764.2(e)

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OFAC Likely Meets Tough Sell on Iran Sanctions Road Show to the Middle East

Posted by George Murphy at 6:14 pm on January 29, 2014
Category: Economic SanctionsIran SanctionsOFACSanctions

By Jean-Pierre Bazard Jpbazard (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

The Treasury Department announced on Monday that Under Secretary David Cohen is traveling to Turkey and the UAE this week to discuss the implementation of the U.S. sanctions relief under the Iranian nuclear pact.  As important as the trip itself, the message to be delivered, according to the Treasury Department, will include a focus on “the limited and temporary sanctions relief provided under the [pact] and continued enforcement of existing international economic sanctions against Iran.”

Both Turkey and the UAE are critical to Iran’s foreign trade.  Turkey is Iran’s third-largest export and import partner, and Iran imports more from the UAE than anywhere else, accounting for approximately a third of Iran’s total imports.  Almost six years ago, we reported on Iran’s reliance on trade with the UAE and, respectively, the UAE’s apparent complicity to trade with Iran in ways that would be in violation of U.S. law.  In fact, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid al-Maktoum, crown prince of Dubai and prime minister of the UAE, told the BBC earlier this month, that international sanctions against Iran should be lifted.  He added that “Iran is our neighbor and we don’t want any problem” and, if international sanctions are lifted, “everybody will benefit.”  Not exactly on point with U.S. sanctions policy.

As the Treasury Department appropriately describes, the U.S. sanctions relief under the nuclear pact is “limited” and is rather more of a U.S. pledge that sanctions will not be imposed against non-U.S. persons engaging in certain activities vis-à-vis Iran.  The emphasis to Turkey and the UAE, therefore, must be that U.S. sanctions are, in effect, at status quo in order to stem off any impression in the Middle East that U.S. sanctions against Iran are softening.

The challenge remains as it always has been: getting Turkish, UAE and other Middle Eastern buy-in to U.S. sanctions policy against Iran.  While Under Secretary Cohen may present some carrots on his trip, the stick to wield was announced along with his trip in highlighting “continued enforcement of existing international sanctions.”  The message, of course, would be that U.S. sanctions enforcement of Iran-related activities taking place in Turkey and the UAE will be bad for business in both countries.

Our advice to exporters remains the same as it was almost six years ago: know your customers especially well in Turkey and the UAE to ensure as best as possible that your business does not involve dealings with Iran.

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We Get Mail

Posted by Clif Burns at 12:54 pm on January 23, 2014
Category: Iran Sanctions

Somebody was reading Export Law Blog but was so busy looking for an email address to spam that they forgot to, you know, read the blog and see that I might have some difficulty in using her services to ship things through the port of Bandar Abbas in Iran.  Or perhaps she just has a very wry sense of humor:

And thank you, “Ms. Pari,” for the kind offer of your services. I’m glad you were glad to take the opportunity to contact me. So sorry it didn’t work out.

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Be Careful What You Post on Facebook

Posted by Clif Burns at 6:58 pm on January 9, 2014
Category: BISIran Sanctions

Pouya Airlines IL 76 at Antalya Airport via [Fair Use]We’ve all heard the story of exuberant youngsters who find their career hopes dashed because they posted on Facebook pictures of themselves half-clothed and glassy-eyed with a margarita in one hand and a bong in the other. It’s a cautionary tale, for sure, and has certainly meant that many people have realized that they perhaps should confine pictures of their latest bacchanalian orgy to a more discrete mode of distribution among friends than Facebook. If you wouldn’t send it to your grandmother, don’t post it on your Facebook page, right?

So, you’re wondering, what does this have to do with export law? Well, believe it or not, it relates to a possible explanation of a recent temporary denial order issued by the Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) on January 3 against 3K Aviation and others related to the planned export on January 7 of U.S.-origin aircraft engines by 3K from Turkey to Iran via the Iranian cargo carrier Pouya Airline. Many people have expressed surprise that a TDO would be issued that forbade all export related activity by 3K rather than an order forbidding the export of the engines at issue given that the order was issued before the export at issue had even taken place. Typically, as in the Mahan Air case, the TDO is issued after the forbidden export has occurred and prohibits all export-related activity during the effective period of the TDO.

On 3K’s Facebook page, you can (still) find a photo gallery titled “IL 76 Engine Loading” and dated December 27. 2012, long before the TDO. The IL 76 is the Ilyushin cargo aircraft operated by Pouya Airlines. Here is a screen capture of the Facebook page showing the Pouya IL 76 sitting at the Antalya Airport in Turkey. And here is a screen capture from the page of the happy pilots in the IL 76 about to carry their engines back to Iran. (You can easily find images of the IL 76 cockpit on-line if you want to verify that this is an IL 76 cockpit.) In other words, the planned January 7 shipment of U.S aircraft engines to Iran was possibly not the first time that 3K had exported U.S. items to Iran.

For its part, 3K is saying that it’s now planning to ship the engines back to the seller in Germany. Of course, under the denial order they can’t export the engines back to Germany without BIS authorization. And here’s a Catch-22: under the TDO they can’t even store the engines without violating the order.  Whatever 3K does, it will violate the order.

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Sanctions Hit Surveys in Sanctioned Countries

Posted by Clif Burns at 10:20 pm on November 12, 2013
Category: Iran SanctionsOFAC

By Hansueli Krapf (User:Simisa) (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-2.5 (], via Wikimedia Commons Pew Research Center just released the results of polls taken in several Middle Eastern countries that reveal that large numbers of Muslims are concerned by Sunnia-Shia tensions in their country, with particular concern being expressed, not surprisingly, by Muslims in Lebanon. The most interesting part of the survey comes near the end:

Surveying in Iran presents special challenges, owing in part to U.S. government restrictions on the import and export of goods and services to and from the country. In conducting its survey of Iranian public opinion, Pew Research fully complied with the requirements mandated by the U.S. Government’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

If you are wondering how Pew complied with those requirements (I certainly am) then you’re not going to find it in the linked report from Pew. You’re just going to have to take their word that they complied somehow or other.

The problem is that OFAC has already said that conducting surveys in Iran constitutes the export of services to Iran and that it would not grant the required licenses for such surveys. And judging by the recent release of General License E creating a general license for certain limited types of surveys, OFAC still believes that conducting surveys in Iran constitutes an export of services to Iran requiring a license. Under General License E, the only surveys authorized are “surveys relating to human rights and democracy building.” I’m not quite sure how a survey in Iran that seeks to determine, inter alia, the extent to which Sunni and Shia believe in visiting shrines of Muslim saints can be said to relate to human rights or democracy building.

Since General License E does not seem to cover this survey,  a specific license would be required instead.  So I assume Pew must have applied for and received a license here, but I’m puzzled as to why they didn’t come out and say that directly rather than just provide a general assertion that they complied with all requirements.

Let me be clear, however, on one thing. I think it is silly for OFAC to say that conducting a survey in Iran for a report published in the United States constitutes an export of a service to Iran. Like most people, I am contacted frequently by people conducting surveys, generally when I’m sitting down to dinner and generally to ask me my views on some polarizing political topic. Frankly, I don’t see how they are providing any services to me by making these calls. Instead, the only service that they could normally provide is to leave me the heck alone and let me finish my dinner in peace. I tend to think that asking people on the streets of Tehran about their political and religious views is not any more of a service to them.

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