After undertaking a broader review of the United States’ policies with regard to Iran, President Donald Trump announced today that he will not certify the Iran nuclear deal, more commonly referred as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (“JCPOA”). This move stops short of unraveling the deal but allows Congress to consider the agreement for the next 60 days on an expedited basis in order to decide whether to re-impose sanctions lifted under the terms of the agreement.
Continue Reading President Trump Declines Certification of Iran Nuclear Deal: What Does This Mean?

International flagsThe Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) recently announced new sanctions on entities and individuals in Iran and Mexico. These sanctions were designated against individuals associated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (“the Quds Force”), Iranian entities involved in hacking against American financial institutions in 2011 and 2012, and Mexican businesses and individuals associated with drug trafficking.

Continue Reading OFAC Announces New Sanctions on Iran and Mexico

White HouseToday, President Trump officially signed H.R. 3364, the “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act” (CAATSA) into law. CAATSA originated as a bill which was focused on only Iran. However, partially in response to Russian cyber-interference with the 2016 election, the Senate expanded CAATSA to impose additional sanctions against Russia and also codify into law various sanctions imposed by the Obama Administration in the form of Executive Orders. The House of Representatives then approved these additions and added further sanctions against North Korea. Eventually, the House and Senate approved the final version of CAATSA by a margin of 419-3 and 98-2, respectively. For additional detail on CAATSA’s legislative history, please see our previous alerts here, here and here.

Continue Reading President Signs Russian, Iran and North Korea Sanctions Legislation into Law

Congress ChamberYesterday, July 25th, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act” by a vote of 419-3. The bill originated as an act in the Senate which was focused on Iran. In response to Russian meddling in the U.S. election, the Senate expanded that bill to include additional sanctions against Russia, codify various Russia-Ukraine sanctions promulgated by the Obama Administration into law and add procedural provisions to delay or prevent any efforts by the Trump Administration to relax those codified Obama Administration sanctions. The Senate passed their revised version of this legislation last month by a vote of 98-2. For more information on the Senate’s earlier approval, please see our post on June 16th.

Continue Reading Congress Passes Russian Sanctions Bill with New Sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea

immigrationIn agreeing to review two rulings by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals and 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on President Trump’s March 6, 2017, Executive Order, the Supreme Court reinstated certain provisions of the Executive Order that the lower courts had blocked. The March 6th Executive Order entitled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” was to suspend visa issuance for individuals from six countries, including Libya, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen for 90 days. This provision, often referred to as the “travel ban,” effectively prohibits travel to the United States for individuals from the six affected countries.

Continue Reading Supreme Court Allows Major Provisions of Travel Ban to Go Into Effect

globeIn March 2016, ZTE Corporation and ZTE Kangxun (collectively ZTE) were placed on the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) Entity List after corporate documents revealed alleged failure to comply with U.S. sanctions against Iran. While placement on the Entity List would ordinarily result in a ban on conducting business with the U.S., President Obama issued a Temporary General License (TGL) on March 24, 2016, which authorizes the export, reexport and transfer (in country) of items to ZTE. The TGL was implemented by amending the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) with the addition of Supplement No. 7 to part 744.

Continue Reading ZTE’s TGL Extended until March 29

The Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) has taken two unrelated sanctions actions against Iran over the past several days:

SDN Designations in Response to Ballistic Missiles Tests

world health globeEffective February 3, 2017, OFAC imposed sanctions against 13 individuals and 12 entities with ties to Iran’s ballistic missile program. OFAC added these individuals and entities to its list of Specially Designated Nationals (the “SDN list”) freezing all  of their assets held in the U.S. and prohibiting persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction from engaging in trade with the sanctioned individuals and entities. These sanctions also apply to non-U.S. persons on a secondary basis. In a press release, OFAC Acting Director John E. Smith stated “Iran’s continued support for terrorism and development of its ballistic missile program poses a threat to the region, to our partners worldwide, and to the United States” and also added “We will continue to actively apply all available tools, including financial sanctions, to address this behavior.”


Continue Reading OFAC Sanctions Iran Missile Program Supporters and Imposes New Medical Device Licensing Requirements

cargo ship containersThe Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has announced new rules, which will take effect December 23, 2016, amending the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 560 (ITSR). The revised rules expand the scope of medical devices and agricultural commodities that may be exported or re-exported to Iran without specific authorization, pursuant to the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000 (TSRA).

Continue Reading OFAC Amends Iran Sanctions to Ease Humanitarian Trade

Treasury BuildingOn December 15, 2016, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) revised their Frequently Asked Questions Relating to the Lifting of Certain U.S. Sanctions Under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), clarifying procedures related to the potential “snapback” of the JCPOA and the subsequent re-imposition of sanctions.

Continue Reading OFAC Clarifies Procedures for Potential Snapback of Iran Sanctions

On July 14, 2015, following nearly twenty months of talks, international negotiators from seven countries (the United States, the United Kingdom, China, France, Germany, Russia, and Iran) announced that they reached a landmark nuclear agreement to limit Iran’s nuclear program. While this is a historic agreement long in the making, it is important to note that there is no immediate lifting of sanctions against Iran. U.S. government officials have indicated that for now it is status quo for those focused on sanctions compliance.

Continue Reading Iran and World Powers Announce Landmark Nuclear Agreement