Sanction Law
Your Guide to the Office of Foreign Assets Control

No More Rugs, Pistachios, or Caviar; All Iranian Origin Imports Banned

After waiting anxiously for the past six (6) weeks, OFAC has finally issued guidance on how the import ban found in the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, Divestment Act of 2010 (“CISADA”) would be reflected in the Iranian Transactions Regulations (“ITR”). The main question a lot of people were asking was whether the general license authorizing the importation of certain Iranian-origin goods (i.e., rugs, pistachios, caviar) would remain intact.

The good news is that OFAC has provided some guidance on this issue. The bad news is that the mandates of the CISADA will be strictly reflected in the ITR. As such, beginning September 29, 2010, all imports of Iranian origin goods are banned. This guidance clarifies a point upon which I and others have been speculating upon ever since the CISADA was passed: how strict would OFAC’s interpretation of the new legislation be? It seems that there might be room within International Emergency Economic Powers Act (“IEEPA”) and the President’s powers for a something other than a strict interpretation of the mandates of the CISADA; and surely, many small business owners selling certain types of Iranian goods were hoping for just that. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case and obtaining Iranian origin goods in the United States legally after September 29, 2010, is going to become nearly impossible.

The author of this blog is Erich Ferrari, an attorney specializing in OFAC litigation. If you have any questions please contact him at 202-280-6370 at 202-351-6161 or

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