Tips for Iranian-Americans coping with OFAC sanctions
Whether it's Apple not selling iPhones to Farsi speakers or American banks closing bank accounts of Iranians without warning, law-abiding Iranian-Americans have been hurt in many ways due to OFAC sanctions. Iranian-Americans have rights just like other Americans & there are ways to assert them.
Are Iranians nationals (non-U.S. citizens) allowed to open and maintain bank accounts in the U.S.?OFAC has no blanket ban on Iranian nationals having U.S. bank accounts. One must be considered to be a U.S. person to have an American bank account. A U.S. person is defined by OFAC as: 1. U.S. Citizens 2. U.S. Green Card holders 3. All persons or entities legally within the U.S. 4. U.S. Citizens or U.S. green card holders outside the U.S. 5. All U.S. incorporated entities and their foreign branches or subsidiaries owned/controlled by U.S. entities. Thus if you are a Iranian citizen with a valid U.S. student visa, for example, you have the right to open and operate an American bank account, despite OFAC sanctions on Iran.
Can U.S. banking institutions block the bank accounts of U.S. citizens of Iranian origin that visit Iran?If the U.S. citizen was in Iran at the time of an international transfer of funds to their U.S. bank account, then the bank will likely take action to comply with their interpretation of OFAC regulations. In this case, an attorney should get involved to handle the dispute. There have been, however, examples of U.S. citizens' bank accounts being blocked after they simply logged into their account from a computer in Iran. Under OFAC regulations, a U.S citizen (and a U.S. person) is allowed to make transactions incident to travelling to Iran. Logging into your account while travelling to Iran would be such a transaction.
Did PayPal close your account after you used it to pay a bill from Iran?PayPal recently was slammed by massive OFAC penalties repeated sanctions violations. So this company might be particularly careful in processing transactions by Iranian-Americans. However, OFAC regulations stipulate that a U.S citizen or an Iranian with lawful status in the States can pay for their personal living expenses, goods, and services online while in Iran.