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September 28, 2010 

OFAC Issues Final Rule Prohibiting Importation into U.S. of Iranian Origin Food and Carpets

The Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) published a final rule in today's Federal Register amending the Iranian Transactions Regulations (ITR) to prohibit the importation into the U.S. of foodstuffs and carpets of Iranian origin starting tomorrow, September 29, 2010.

As we previously reported, this final rule is required to implement the import prohibitions contained in section 103 of the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 that was enacted by Congress on July 1, 2010.

Prior U.S. law authorized 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). 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 were also authorized.

However, as a result of the change to the ITRs issued today any Iranian food or carpets must be entered by U.S. Customs and Border Protection by midnight tonight. OFAC has stated that the agency will not issue any specific licenses authorizing any imports after that date, even if the goods were in transit or were at the port.

Efforts to import Iranian origin foodstuffs and carpets on or after September 29, 2010 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.




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