As promised, President Obama is using economic sanctions to pressure Iran into surrendering its nuclear ambitions. Imported Persian rugs and foods stuffs take the latest hit. On August 12, 2010, the Office of Foreign Assets Control issued this memo that explains the repeal of 31 CFR 560.534:
OFFICE OF FOREIGN ASSETS CONTROL
Guidance Regarding Import Prohibitions Imposed by the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions,
Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010
On July 1, 2010, the President signed into law the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 (the "Act"), which, among other things, prohibits the importation of Iranian-origin goods and services into the United States, effective 90 days after the Act's date of enactment. No exception to this prohibition may be made for the commercial importation of Iranian-origin goods described in section 560.534(a) of the Iranian Transactions Regulations (31 C.F.R. Part 560). The Office of Foreign Assets Control cannot authorize by general or specific license the commercial importation of such Iranian-origin goods (which include certain foodstuffs and carpets) on or after September 29, 2010. Consequently, the general license in section 560.534 of the ITR will be eliminated by September 29, 2010, and any such goods for commercial importation into the United States must be entered for consumption before that date.
Ok, so a guillotine may be just slightly over the top, but it is undeniable that the federal government is enforcing trade with extreme rigor, as seen from our survey results of penalty cases just from the past month. You can see the results from the table we prepared (see below) which captures only a small percentage of recent penalty cases. The agencies involved are the US Department of Justice, Office of Foreign Assets Control, Securities and Exchange Commission, US Department of State, and the Bureau of Industry and Security. Not shown are the import penalty cases imposed by US Customs and Border Protection, the FDA, and other agencies. Adding import penalty cases (if federal authorities ever released that information) would stretch this table to several pages. The penalty amounts total about $400 million, but do not and cannot reflect all the real costs that a violator company must shoulder to deal with compliance emergencies.
Principal and a founding member of GRVR Attorneys.