PAAIA D.C. Chapter Co-hosts Panel Presentation on Iranian Transaction Regulations

By PAAIA Staff

February 18, 2011, Washington D.C. – On Thursday, February 17th, PAAIA and the Washington D.C. Chapter of the Iranian American Bar Association (IABA) hosted an informative panel presentation entitled “2011 OFAC Update:  Iran Sanctions.”  This event, which was hosted by Venable, LLP, allowed for a unique exchange of dialogue between the Iranian American community, legal experts, and U.S. Government officials from the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) regarding current trade law and regulations between the United States and Iran. 

The panel featured two legal experts and five OFAC officials who discussed a range of topics from rules governing the receipt, liquidation, and transfer of inherited assets to the new sanction law, which outlines changes to Iranian Trade Regulations.  “U.S. trade sanctions are very complex and broad,” Attorney Erich C. Ferrari, panelist explained.  “If you have any doubts or questions, please do not act before you consult OFAC or at least a legal expert.  Many Iranian Americans are at risk breaking OFAC laws simply because they are not aware of the regulations.”
Over a hundred people attended and listened carefully to the panel presentation.  Following the presentation, those in attendance participated in a lively question and answer session.   “Many of the people in the audience are Baby Boomers,” PAAIA Member Saghi Agha-Khan said.  “Inheritance is becoming or has become a big issue for Iranian Americans who have inherited assets from deceased parents and now are not sure how to liquidate property without breaking U.S. sanction laws.  I believe the OFAC panelists have outlined the right resources to ensure the process happens legally and smoothly.”
The energy of the audience clearly reflected the relevance and importance of these issues. “A large percentage of Iranian Americans still have family (immediate and close relatives) living in Iran and still keep relatively frequent communication with them in Iran,” explained PAAIA Member and former Director Babak Hoghooghi during the introduction.  “According to public opinion surveys commissioned by PAAIA, about 30% of Iranian Americans travel to Iran every 2-3 years and 11% travel once a year or more.”  
“The panel was informative and excellent. I think it provided a great deal of context for both lawyers and Iranian Americans,” Law Student and audience member, Dean Dastvar said. “It’s important to understand the regulations and the changing dynamic with the new administration and how these regulations are going to affect and impact Iranian American’s lives both personally and professionally.”
The laws and sanctions governing trade with Iran are complex, far reaching, and can reach into practically any level of both formal/informal and direct/indirect trade and exchange of goods, fees, and other materials with and through Iran.  The panelists were adamant about the importance of checking with OFAC or a legal professional should any person have doubts or questions about bringing or sending funds and/or goods to and from Iran. Additional information on the Iran Sanctions can be found on the OFAC site at:http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/pages/iran.aspx.  
PAAIA is hopeful to replicate similar presentations by OFAC and/or legal professionals regarding the Iran sanctions in other parts of the country.

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