Dispelling Common Iranian Divestment Myths
Do I Need an OFAC License to Transfer Money To/From Iran?There is no per se "funds transfer prohibition" from Iran. There is a regulation, however, at 31 CFR 560.427 which clarifies that the transfer of funds between Iran and the United States constitutes a service, and therefore falls under the prohibition for export of a service. That said, if you are dealing with a common transfer issue, such as receiving an inheritance, a gift from family members, or moving your own money from Iran to the United States most of those transactions will be covered as non-commercial remittances which are generally authorized at 31 CFR 560.550. As such, careful attention should be paid to the underlying reason for the funds transfer to determine whether or not it involves the prohibited exportation of a service or if it falls under an exemption or general license authorization.
OFAC Licenses No Longer Needed For Selling PropertyTrue for some people, not true for others. There is a general license authorization found at 31 CFR 560.543, which allows the sale of property that was obtained either through inheritance or prior to obtaining status as a U.S. person. However, if someone purchased property in Iran while they were a U.S. green card holder, then a license would still be required. As always, determinations as to need for OFAC licensing should be made on a case by case basis.
Only Dealings With "Designated" Banks are ProhibitedFirst, its important to realize that all Iranian financial institutions are sanctioned. This has been true since February 2012, when President Obama, in accordance with Section 1245 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 blocked all Iranian financial institutions. Some banks in Iran, are actually designated banks, meaning that they have had sanctions imposed against them pursuant to other sanctions programs. Other banks are merely blocked and you can still have dealings involving them so long as the transactions themselves are authorized. That said, no U.S. person should have an account at any Iranian financial institution. In the past I have obtained OFAC licenses for clients who needed accounts at Iranian banks, but they were typically only given out on a temporary basis and for a specific purpose. If you are a U.S. person with an account at an Iranian bank then you will need to obtain an OFAC license to close the account.