By Asian Law Caucus
February 9, 2012, SAN FRANCISCO, CA – The Asian Law Caucus, a San Francisco-based civil rights organization, released a Farsi-language translation of its Know-Your-Rights publication on the Iranian Transactions Regulations (“Iran Sanctions”), which are the most relevant sanctions program restricting commercial and financial dealings with Iran. The publication, which is an exact translation of the May 2011 English-language report, provides a general guide to the scope of prohibited and permissible transactions under the Iran Sanctions, and illustrates the numerous ways these regulations impact Iranian-Americans.
For a number of years, the United States government has imposed broad sanctions against Iran for various U.S. foreign policy reasons. Whether or not these sanctions are an effective tool in this effort, there can be no doubt that the Iran Sanctions severely restrict the ability of Iranian Americans to engage in personal, family, business, and charitable transactions involving Iran.
The Asian Law Caucus and many national Iranian-American membership organizations are increasingly receiving inquiries from concerned community members about the Iran Sanctions and their potential impact. Some want to know if and how they can sell their property in Iran, transfer their savings or retirement funds to the United States, or support their parents or other family members in Iran. Others want to provide for orphans, donate money to Iranian charities, or engage in other charitable deeds. Few understand the complex compliance requirements posed by the Iran Sanctions and the severe penalties, including criminal prosecution and heavy fines, that can be imposed for even inadvertent violations of these regulations.
For example, in June 2010, Mr. Mahmoud Reza Banki, an Ivy-league educated United States citizen of Iranian descent, was convicted of violating the Iran Sanctions due to a series of money transfers he made between the U.S. and Iran on behalf of his family; he was sentenced to two and a half years in prison. Since the publication of the May 2011 report, Mr. Banki’s conviction has been partially reversed on appeal by the Second Circuit. However, the ordeal he and his family continue to struggle with are a sad and clear reminder of the devastating personal consequences that can befall U.S. citizens and other U.S. persons if they fail to comply with the Iran Sanctions.
The recent passage of further sanctions legislation has made navigating the Iran Sanctions more complicated than ever before. Now more than ever, it is critical for community members to seek an attorney’s advice before conducting transactions or affairs that may run afoul of this regulatory system. Although this translated guide will provide useful information about applicable requirements to the community, it is only intended as a general discussion of the Sanctions and should not be regarded as legal advice.
Copies of the guide are available online by clicking here.