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August 12, 2010 

OFAC Issues Guidance on Implementation of Restrictions on Iranian Origin Food and Carpets

U.S. persons and companies that currently import food and carpets from Iran should be aware of the guidance reprinted below that was issued today by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) concerning a change in U.S. law made by the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 ("CISADA").

OFAC's Iranian Transactions Regulations currently contain a general license authorizing the importation into the U.S. of foodstuffs from Iran that are classified under chapters 2-23 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS) (such as pistachios and non-beluga caviar (which is prohibited by other aspects of law). In addition, the importation of carpets and other textile floor coverings of Iranian origin that are classified under chapter 57 or heading 9706.00.0060 of the HTS are also authorized.

However, due to the additional Iran sanctions recently passed by Congress, OFAC will soon issued a regulation amending the Iranian Transaction Regulations to eliminate the general license and such imports will be no longer permitted starting on September 29, 2010. OFAC has also indicated that any authorized Iranian products must be imported by September 28, 2010 and it will not issue any specific licenses authorizing any imports after that date. As a result, importers must move quickly to ensure that any pending orders are entered for consumption by their customs brokers by September 28, 2010.

Attempts to import Iranian origin foodstuffs and carpets after September 28th can lead to significant civil and criminal penalties. For example, civil penalties of up to $250,000 or twice the amount of the transaction that is the basis of the violation can be imposed administratively. Criminal penalties of up to $1,000,000 in fines and imprisonment for up to 20 years can be imposed for willful violations of the Iranian Transaction Regulations.
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.


Eliminating exceptions sounds reasonable, especially since ayatollahs like Rafsanjani have been raking in the dough for years through his family's pistachio plantation...

Thanks for the good explanation of OFAC's recent action. Cheers.

Would someone please explain to me,I'm a US Permanent resident and I just happen to bring my own carpet back from Iran to USA, IS it Okay to do so ??!? Please answer me.

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