Iranian Sanctions Compliance

Osen LLC’s team has extensive experience with U.S. regulations and statutes affecting international businesses in sanctions, terror-financing and anti-money laundering reviews. Osen LLC investigates and analyzes potential violations in this regulatory space and advises governments and private parties on the application of the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 (“CISADA”) and related Iranian sanctions  laws, regulations and executive orders. These include the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012, the Iranian Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act of 2012, the Iranian Transaction Regulations, and other laws and sanctions regimes enacted by the United Nations, the European Union, and other jurisdictions against the Islamic Republic of Iran.


Sanctions have been a component of U.S. policy concerning Iran since 1979.  Some U.S. sanctions have been enacted into law, others have been imposed via Presidential Executive Order (often under the “International Emergency Economic Powers Act”), and still others are predicated upon legally authorized administrative determinations (including sanctions resulting from the U.S’s designation of Iran as a “state sponsor of terrorism”).  CISADA, which amends the Iran Sanctions Act, significantly ratcheted up the scope and reach of the existing sanctions regime. In particular, CISADA targets investments and activities involving Iran’s oil, energy, and transportation sectors, and also imposes strict conditions on opening or maintaining a correspondent or payable-through account by a foreign financial institution found to facilitate or support activities related to weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) development, terrorist support, or business with sanctioned entities. CISADA specifically targets domestic financial institutions that may engage in transactions with the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps, itself designated by the U.S. State Department in 2007 for WMD proliferation activities. It also targets entities that assist Iran’s Central Bank in efforts to acquire WMDs or support international terrorism. In addition, CISADA materially changes and expands the law’s definition of acting “knowingly” so that it includes constructive, as well as actual, knowledge.


CISADA is, however, only one law in a constantly evolving legal framework. In 2012 the National Defense Authorization Act issued energy-related sanctions against Iran’s Central Bank, and the Obama Administration issued Executive Order 13599 further impounding Iranian assets. Other portions of CISADA, as well as different statutes and executive orders, sanction Iranian regime officials involved in censorship or the suppression of Iranian domestic opposition.


On November 23, 2013 the White House announced the outlines of a six-month “Joint Action Plan” between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany (“P5+1”) intended to curb certain aspects of the Iranian nuclear program in exchange for limited sanctions relief, including suspending certain sanctions on gold and precious metals and Iran’s petrochemical exports and permitting licenses for certain aircraft safety-related parts, repairs and inspections.


While U.S. and European sanctions remain in flux, tracking and analyzing this complex tangle of U.S. and foreign laws, regulations and policies requires the services of a firm with extensive knowledge of this legal framework and with specialized factual and policy knowledge concerning Iranian efforts to evade U.S. sanctions. This expertise ranges from identifying: money-laundering; the establishment of false front and shell companies; data stripping from financial transactions to avoid automatic detection; financial transactions structured to avoid U.S. OFAC filtering systems; and use of the paperless “Hawala” system (common in parts of the Middle East and Asia), in which money is transferred informally and sometimes illegally through trustworthy couriers.


Osen LLC’s team does more than assess specific transactions or analyze the dry language of statutes, regulations, and resolutions: We track and map trends and identify risks posed by continued Iranian sanctions evasion efforts.