Iran Sanctions

Iran Sanctions

1089

Answer

Yes, persons seeking to export items to Iran or conduct other activities in support of internet freedom in Iran that are not authorized by GL D-2 or other authorizations are encouraged to submit a specific license application to OFAC. 

Date Released
September 23, 2022

1088

Answer

A cloud-based service or software provider whose non-Iranian customers provide services or software to persons in Iran via the cloud may rely upon the authorization in GL D-2 to provide access to Iran, provided that such provider conducts due diligence based on information available to it in the ordinary course of business to confirm that the non-Iranian customer: (1) is not a person whose property and interests in property are blocked, except as authorized under paragraph (a)(6) of GL D-2; and (2) provides software and services that fall within one of the categories described in FAQ 1087, or otherwise involve activity authorized or exempt under the ITSR.

In instances where cloud-based services or software are used to support the exportation of services or software to Iran authorized under GL D-2, OFAC does not generally expect a cloud-based service or software provider to evaluate the ultimate end use or end user of the authorized software or services, provided the cloud-based provider conducts due diligence based on information available to it in the ordinary course of business.  For example, if a cloud-based service or software provider supports non-Iranian customers providing access in Iran to news websites or Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) that fall within one of the categories described in FAQ 1087, the cloud-based service or software provider need not evaluate whether the provision of access via the cloud involving Iranian end users is related to communication.  By contrast, if a U.S. cloud-based service or software provider supports non-Iranian customers providing certain enterprise management software to Iran, such as payroll management software, the cloud-based service or software provider would be expected to evaluate whether its support of the software is a prohibited export of software or services to Iran because payroll management software is not generally considered a qualifying software incident to communications. 

Please note that GL D-2 does not authorize the importation into the United States of Iranian-origin software or the dealing in such software, including the hosting of Iranian-origin software on a mobile application store.  Persons seeking to engage in such activity may submit applications for specific licenses to OFAC that describe the nature of the software and the Iranian developers involved.  
 

Date Released
September 23, 2022

1087

Answer

Yes.  Paragraph (a)(1) of GL D-2 authorizes the exportation to Iran of fee-based or no-cost cloud-based services incident to the exchange of communications over the Internet.  In addition, paragraph (a)(2) of GL D-2 authorizes the exportation to Iran of cloud-based software that is incident to, or enables services incident to, communications over the Internet.  Software exported under paragraph (a)(2) of GL D-2 either: (i) must be designated as EAR99 under the Export Administration Regulations, 15 CFR parts 730 through 774 (EAR), or classified under Export Control Classification Number (ECCN) 5D992.c; or (ii) if the software is not subject to the EAR because it is of foreign origin, must be the type of software that would be designated EAR99 or classified under ECCN 5D992.c if it were located in the United States.

For purposes of GL D-2, cloud-based services and software are determined to be incident to the exchange of communications over the Internet when they are used to support transactions authorized or exempt under the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (ITSR), 31 CFR part 560, including the following categories of activities: 

  • instant messaging, chat, email, social networking, sharing of photos and movies, web browsing, blogging, social media platforms, collaboration platforms, video conferencing, e-gaming platforms, e-learning platforms, automated translation, web maps, and user authentication services; 
  • software and services listed in the categories (6) through (11) of the Annex of GL D-2, including anti-virus and anti-malware software, anti-tracking software, mobile operating systems and related software, anti-censorship tools and related software; Virtual Private Network (VPN) client software and related software; and provisioning and verification software for Secure Sockets Layers (SSL) certificates and related software, provided that the software meets the relevant conditions of GL D-2, including applicable export control classification-related criteria; 
  • transactions that are exempt from the prohibitions of the ITSR, including news outlets and media websites covered by the exemption for information or informational materials in section 560.210(c) of the ITSR; and
  • other transactions authorized under the ITSR, such as transactions necessary and ordinarily incident to publishing authorized pursuant to section 560.538, transactions for the conduct of the official business of certain international organizations pursuant to section 560.539, the sale and exportation of agricultural commodities, medicine, medical devices, and certain software and services pursuant to section 560.530, and transactions authorized pursuant to any general or specific licenses issued under the ITSR. 

Please note that paragraph (a)(1) of GL D-2 does not authorize the exportation of cloud-based services or software to the Government of Iran, except as specified in paragraph (a)(6) of GL D-2. 

Date Released
September 23, 2022

932

Answer

URGENT NOTE:  The U.S. Department of State cautions against any travel by U.S. persons to Iran.  The Department of State has issued a Level Four Travel Advisory (Do Not Travel) for Iran due to the risk of kidnapping, arbitrary arrest, and detention of U.S. citizens.  See additional guidance available at https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories/iran-travel-advisory.html

Transactions ordinarily incident to travel to or from Iran by U.S. persons fall within an exemption under the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (ITSR), 31 C.F.R. part 560, and therefore generally are not prohibited.  See, e.g., 31 CFR. § 560.210(d).  Exempt transactions include religious pilgrimages by U.S. persons to the Imam Reza Holy Shrine and the acquisition of goods or services for personal use while traveling.  Furthermore, donations of articles, such as food, clothing, and medicine, by U.S. persons to the Imam Reza Holy Shrine intended to be used to alleviate human suffering also fall within an exemption and therefore generally are not prohibited under the ITSR.

However, U.S. persons may be prohibited from engaging in certain transactions involving persons blocked under sanctions programs or authorities outside the scope of the ITSR, such as Astan Quds Razavi (AQR) and its subsidiary, the Holy Shrine Organization, which oversees the Imam Reza Holy Shrine.  AQR was designated and added to OFAC’s Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List on January 13, 2021 pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13876 for being owned or controlled by the Supreme Leader of Iran.  The Holy Shrine Organization is also considered blocked under E.O. 13876 pursuant to OFAC’s 50 Percent Rule to the extent it is 50 percent or more owned by AQR.  More information about OFAC’s 50 Percent Rule is available at https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/faqs/401.  U.S. persons are advised to act with caution when considering transactions or activities involving AQR or the Holy Shrine Organization. 

Those seeking additional guidance on transactions and activities involving the Imam Reza Holy Shrine may contact OFAC’s Sanctions Compliance and Evaluation Division by email at:  OFAC_Feedback@treasury.gov or may request a specific license or interpretive guidance from OFAC’s Licensing Division online at https://licensing.ofac.treas.gov/Apply/Introduction.aspx
 

Date Released
September 30, 2021

907

Answer

For the purposes of Iran GL N-1, covered COVID-19-related goods or technology include, for example:  medical gowns; medical eye shields and goggles; surgical gloves; face shields; respirators and masks such as N95, N99, and N100 masks; personal hygiene products such as soap and hand sanitizer and other water, sanitation, and hygiene supplies such as: water purification supplies and hygiene promotion materials; vaccines and vaccine ingredients or components required for the production of vaccines; equipment, supplies, and containers for transporting, storing, and administering vaccines; COVID-19 testing kits and equipment, and software and technology for processing such kits; equipment, software, and technology for diagnostic imaging tests; ventilators or components thereof; oxygen tanks and supplies to deliver oxygen; supplies, medicines, or other therapies to treat COVID-19; and field hospitals or mobile medical units, provided that all conditions and limitations of Iran GL N-1 are satisfied, including with regard to the classification of certain goods and technology set forth in paragraph (d)(1) of Iran GL N-1.  Certain COVID-19-related medical devices designated as EAR99 that would otherwise require a specific license for exportation or reexportation to Iran because they are included on OFAC’s List of Medical Devices Requiring Specific Authorization — such as High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) Filtration Systems and HEPA filters — would not require a specific license for exportation or reexportation to Iran, provided that all conditions and limitations of Iran GL N-1 are satisfied.

Transactions and activities related to the exportation, reexportation, sale, or supply of such goods or technology include, for example:  processing and transfer of funds; payment of taxes, fees, and import duties; purchase or receipt of permits, licenses, or public utility services; making of shipping and cargo inspection arrangements; obtaining of insurance; arrangement of financing and payment; shipping and storage of the goods; receipt of payment; and entry into contracts (including executory contracts), provided that all conditions and limitations of Iran GL N-1 are satisfied.  Certain transactions and activities involving the Central Bank of Iran (CBI), the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), or any entity in which NIOC owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest, are also authorized under Iran GL N-1. 

As noted in Iran GL N-1, this general license does not authorize the unblocking of any property blocked pursuant to any part of 31 CFR chapter V, including property of the Government of Iran. 

Updated: June 10, 2022

Date Released
June 17, 2021

856

Answer

Transactions and activities involving Iranian financial institutions blocked under E.O. 13902 remain authorized under General License (GL) L to the extent they are authorized, exempt, or otherwise not prohibited by the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 560 (ITSR). This authorization includes certain transactions and activities relating to the initiation and conduct of legal proceedings authorized or otherwise permitted pursuant to section 560.510 or 560.525 of the ITSR, such as transactions or activities related to the defense of individuals in legal proceedings in Iran brought by the Government of Iran, including any arrest, investigation, prosecution, or detention. Such permissible transactions and activities may include reasonable and customary payments for the provision of legal services, bail and/or bond payments, judicial costs and fees, costs for the production of documents and appearances of witnesses, and payment of experts.  

In addition, for purposes of secondary sanctions, as described in FAQ 844, non-U.S. persons are not exposed to sanctions for engaging in transactions and activities involving the Iranian financial sector or an Iranian FI blocked pursuant to E.O. 13902 that would be authorized for U.S. persons under GL L.  

Please note that, unless permitted by GL L and FAQ 844, payments made to Iran involving blocked Iranian persons — including the Government of Iran, including any political subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof — in connection with awards, orders, decisions, or settlement of claims may be subject to sanctions. OFAC will assess such transactions on a case-by-case basis.

Please also note that guidance above applies only with respect to transactions or activities involving Iranian FIs sanctioned solely pursuant to E.O. 13599 and E.O. 13902 or the Iranian financial sector.  These transactions and activities should not involve persons designated on OFAC’s List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN List) in connection with Iran’s support for international terrorism or proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) unless exempt or otherwise permitted. 

Date Released
December 7, 2020

855

Answer

Pursuant to Section 12 of E.O. 13902, the prohibitions of E.O. 13902 do not apply to transactions for the conduct of the official business of the United Nations (including its specialized agencies, programmes, funds, and related organizations) by employees, grantees, or contractors thereof.  In addition, transactions and activities involving an Iranian financial institution (Iranian FI) blocked under E.O. 13902 are authorized under General License (GL) L to the extent they are authorized, exempt, or otherwise not prohibited by the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 560 (ITSR).  Section 560.539 of the ITSR authorizes transactions for the official business of certain international organizations, including the United Nations and its Specialized Agencies, Programmes, Funds, and Related Organizations, including the World Bank Group, the International Monetary Fund, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the International Labor Organization, and the World Health Organization. 

For purposes of secondary sanctions, as described in FAQ 844, non-U.S. persons are not exposed to sanctions for engaging in transactions and activities involving the Iranian financial sector or an Iranian FI blocked pursuant to E.O. 13902 that would be authorized for U.S. persons under GL L.   

In addition, Treasury will generally view the following additional transactions by non-U.S. persons involving Iranian FIs blocked solely pursuant to E.O. 13599 and E.O. 13902 or the Iranian financial sector, as non-sanctionable:

  • The operating expenses or other official business of missions in Iran of international organizations in which Iran is a member or participant, or for the personal use of employees of the missions; and
  • The operating expenses or other official business associated with the Government of Iran’s missions to international organizations in which Iran is a member or participant, or for the personal use of employees of the missions, including the provision of routine goods and services to such missions or their employees by non-U.S. persons.

Please note that the guidance above applies only with respect to transactions or activities involving the Iranian financial sector or Iranian FIs sanctioned solely pursuant to E.O. 13599 and E.O. 13902.  These transactions and activities should not involve persons designated on OFAC’s List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN List) in connection with Iran’s support for international terrorism or proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), unless exempt or otherwise permitted. 

Date Released
December 7, 2020

853

Answer

General licenses issued under the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (ITSR) authorize certain U.S. academic institutions and other U.S. persons to provide certain services and software to Iranian students.  These general licenses include:

  • General License G (GL G) authorizes accredited graduate and undergraduate degree-granting U.S. academic institutions, including their contractors, to export services to students located in Iran, or located outside of Iran but who are ordinarily resident in Iran (“Iranian students”), to sign up for and participate in certain undergraduate level online courses, notably:  (i) courses in the humanities, social sciences, law, or business that are the equivalent of courses ordinarily required for the completion of undergraduate degree programs in the humanities, social sciences, law, or business; and (ii) introductory undergraduate level science, technology, engineering, or mathematics courses ordinarily required for the completion of undergraduate degree programs in the humanities, social sciences, law, or business.  In addition, under Section 560.405 of the ITSR, certain transactions ordinarily incident to a licensed transaction are also authorized.  OFAC interprets Section 560.405 of the ITSR to authorize certain transactions ordinarily incident to courses authorized by GL G, including the giving of assignments and testing and grading of Iranian students.  
  • General License M-2 (GL M-2) authorizes, on a time-limited basis, accredited graduate and undergraduate degree-granting U.S. academic institutions, including their contractors, to export additional services to those Iranian students who are eligible for non-immigrant classification under categories F (students) or M (non-academic students), and have been granted a nonimmigrant visa by the U.S. State Department, but are not physically present in the United States due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Specifically, GL M-2 authorizes the provision of certain online educational services related to:  educational courses that are (i) the equivalent of courses ordinarily required for the completion of graduate degree programs in the humanities, social sciences, law, or business; and (ii) introductory science, technology, engineering, or mathematics courses ordinarily required for the completion of graduate degree programs in the humanities, social sciences, law, or business.  OFAC interprets Section 560.405 of the ITSR to authorize certain transactions ordinarily incident to courses authorized by GL M-2, including the giving of assignments and testing and grading of Iranian students.  GL M-2 also authorizes the exportation of certain software to facilitate the participation of certain Iranian students in certain online educational activities, as explained further below.  GL M-2 authorizes covered activities through 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time, September 1, 2023. 
  • Section 560.540 of the ITSR and General License D-1 authorize the exportation to Iran of certain services and software incident to the exchange of personal communications over the Internet, such as instant messaging, chat and email, social networking, sharing of photos and movies, web browsing, and blogging.  OFAC interprets these authorizations to cover video conferencing software and related services, as well as educational technology software and related services, that allow students to view courses and course materials, complete tests and assignments, receive grades, participate in discussions, and other, similar course-related online activity, provided that the software meets the additional criteria of the applicable authorization.  For more guidance on Section 560.540 of the ITSR and General License D-1, please see FAQs 337, 338, 339, 340, 341, 342, 343, 344, 345, 346, 347, 348, 434, 435, 436, 437, 438, 439, 440, 441, 442, and 443.  In addition, GL M-2 also authorizes the exportation of certain software in order to facilitate participation in online educational activities described in GL G and GL M-2 by Iranian students who are eligible for non-immigrant classification under categories F (students) or M (non-academic students), and have been granted a nonimmigrant visa by the U.S. State Department, but are not physically present in the United States due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

To export services to Iranian students that fall outside of these authorizations, U.S. persons may apply for a specific license through the OFAC License Application Page.  OFAC is committed to mitigating the adverse impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and prioritizes the review of specific license applications to provide online learning services to Iranian students who are not physically present in the United States because of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Please note that the general licenses summarized above do not authorize the exportation of goods (including software), services, or technology to the Government of Iran or to persons blocked under any authority administered by OFAC, including OFAC’s counterterrorism or counterproliferation authorities. 

Date Updated: August 25, 2022

Date Released
August 24, 2021

847

Answer

For purposes of E.O. 13902, OFAC would not generally view transactions or activities by non-U.S. persons to be sanctionable if they are consistent with activities that would be permissible if conducted by U.S. persons.  As noted in FAQ 842, General License (GL) L authorizes U.S. persons to engage in transactions and activities involving Iranian FIs blocked pursuant to E.O. 13902 that are authorized, exempt, or otherwise excluded from prohibition under the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 560 (ITSR).  In addition, pursuant to Sections 11 and 12 of E.O. 13902, respectively, the prohibitions of E.O. 13902 do not apply:  (i) with respect to any person for conducting or facilitating a transaction for the provision (including any sale) of agricultural commodities, food, medicine, or medical devices to Iran; or (ii) to transactions for the conduct of the official business of the United Nations (including its specialized agencies, programmes, funds, and related organizations) by employees, grantees, or contractors thereof.

For purposes of secondary sanctions, as described in FAQ 844, non-U.S. persons are not exposed to sanctions for engaging in transactions and activities involving the Iranian financial sector or an Iranian FI blocked pursuant to E.O. 13902 that would be authorized for U.S. persons under GL L.  

In addition, OFAC would generally view as non-sanctionable any transactions or activities by foreign financial institutions (FFIs) and other non-U.S. persons that involve the Iranian financial sector or Iranian FIs sanctioned solely pursuant to E.O. 13599 and E.O. 13902, and that fall within the categories set forth below, to the extent such transactions or activities are not already exempt or otherwise excepted from sanctions:

  • The sale, supply, or transfer of goods and services to Iran – as well as intermediate goods used for manufacturing of such goods in Iran – solely for use in Iran and not for export from Iran, to ensure the protection of life, health, and safety, such as: products used for sanitation, hygiene, medical care, medical safety, and manufacturing safety, including soap, hand sanitizer, ventilators, respirators, personal hygiene products, diapers, infant and childcare items, personal protective equipment, manufacturing safety systems, safety devices, alarm systems, and ventilation systems.
  • Arrangement and facilitation of travel into, out of, and within Iran, by air, sea, or land, including travel service providers and air carrier services;
  • The provision of medical or healthcare services to persons in Iran or ordinarily resident in Iran; and
  • The provision of educational services by academic institutions outside Iran to persons in Iran or ordinarily resident in Iran.

Please note that the guidance above applies only with respect to transactions or activities involving the Iranian financial sector or Iranian FIs sanctioned solely pursuant to E.O. 13599 and E.O. 13902. These transactions and activities should not involve persons designated on OFAC’s List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN List) in connection with Iran’s support for international terrorism or proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), unless exempt or otherwise permitted.

Date Released
December 7, 2020

846

Answer

Waivers issued by the Department of State (State) and exceptions set forth in IFCA remain valid and activities conducted under them involving Iranian FIs are not sanctionable during the wind-down period described in FAQ 845.  Persons engaged in transactions or activities involving the Iranian financial sector or Iranian FIs sanctioned pursuant to E.O. 13902 that are permitted by a current State waiver or IFCA exception may continue these activities, in accordance with the conditions of those waivers or exceptions, without risking exposure to sanctions.  The State Department, in consultation with OFAC, continues to assess whether these waivers and exceptions require modification prior to the close of the wind-down period to account for actions taken pursuant to E.O. 13902 and ensure uninterrupted activity, as appropriate.  For more information, please contact the Department of State.

Date Released
October 8, 2020