Three Myths About Exporting Food, Medicine, and Medical Devices to Iran
You Must Be an Exporter; Not a BrokerOne of the biggest problems we see in relation to those seeking to export food, medicine, or medical devices to Iran, particularly under the general license authorizations contained in the ITSR, is that most of those parties are not operating as exporters but as brokers. In short, many of these parties are receiving orders from Iran and then turning around to source the articles and have them shipped to Iran. They then receive a commission payment from the party in Iran. That's clear brokering, and if you are engaging in that type of activity at the behest of an Iranian or a foreign entity you will need a separate license for brokering.
You Don't Apply for an OFAC General LicenseI have previously written about the differences between OFAC specific licenses and OFAC general licenses. In short, OFAC specific licenses are those authorizations granted by OFAC pursuant to an application seeking to allow for transactions to be engaged in which are otherwise prohibited. On the other hand, an OFAC general license is an open regulatory authorization which allows for a certain type of transaction to occur. You do not have to apply for an OFAC general license, it merely exists as a regulatory exception to the prohibitions of a particular sanctions program. So long as you follow the requirements of that license there is no need to make an application to OFAC to engage in transactions authorized by such general license.
OFAC Will Not License You to Unblock Funds Belonging to the Central Bank of IranI have received numerous inquires from potential clients who want to apply for an OFAC license to unblock funds belonging to the Central Bank of Iran held at foreign financial institutions so that they can buy humanitarian products for export to Iran. It doesn't work that way. First, these potential clients have no cognizable interest in these funds, as the funds belong to the CBI. Second, they are not blocked in a manner through which a traditional OFAC unblocking license can be obtained. Third, payment from those funds has to be initiated by Central Bank of Iran, or through an allocation of that currency to an Iranian financial institution solely blocked pursuant to Executive Order 13599, and the foreign financial institution holding the funds has to allow the release of the funds for the humanitarian related exports. A private U.S. citizen or company seeking an OFAC license to unblock Central Bank of Iran's money so they can buy products with it is not a viable course of action.