Today the Office of Foreign Assets Control has revised certain transaction policies that manage the sanctions on Iranian Financial Institutions. The Secretary of the Treasury has authorized the Office of Foreign Assets Control to change the heading of the Iranian Transactions Regulations (ITR) to the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (ITSR). Under the renamed “ITSR”, various sections and subparts have been extensively amended, added to, or removed to implement Executive Order 13599 as well as certain sections of the National Defense Authorizations Act (NDAA). Sections and subsections regarding prohibitions, definitions, interpretations, and licensing provisions have been updated. Due to the numerous changes, OFAC has wholly republished the “ITSR” which includes several new general licenses while removing other general licenses that had previously appeared on the Iranian Sanctions page. General licenses being issued authorize under appropriate terms and conditions certain types of transactions while precluding others.
A general license has been created for all Iranian Nationals interested in obtaining a United States Visa. Activities and services that are related to certain nonimmigrant and immigrant visa categories are authorized by a general license. Under the general license, those eligible for non-immigrant classification under categories A3, G5, D, F, I, J, M, O, P, Q, R, S are authorized to carry out activities in the U.S. to the extent that their visa allows. Those eligible for non- immigrant classification under categories E2, H, L and all other immigrant classifications are authorized to carry out activities in the U.S. to the extent that their visa allows. Transactions are authorized for U.S. persons engaging in necessary exports of financial services to Iran in connection with individual applicants for the E2 and EB5 visa if the transfer of funds abides by the section regarding the Transfer of funds involving Iran rules and regulations. If the individual applicant is denied their E2 or EB5 visa or withdraws it, the U.S. persons are authorized to transfer the sum back to Iran or to a third country.
For those practitioners that have Iranian EB-5/E2 clients ordinarily resident in Iran, a specific license is no longer required for immigration purposes. It is important to recognize that the general license does not authorize capital transfers from applicants whom are on the SDN list. Additionally, the methods of transferring the capital still preclude the use of sanctioned Iranian financial institutions.
The new and final ruling by OFAC as of October 22, 2012 is in the Federal Register on Iranian Transactions Regulations at https://www.federalregister.gov.
For more information regarding this or other OFAC matters please contact Reza Rahbaran.