Insider news & Analysis in Iran

 By INU Staff

INU - Last week, the House Financial Services Committee approved the Strengthening Oversight of Iran’s Access to Finance Act. The bill codifies in law a set of conditions that the U.S. Treasury must use to evaluate licenses for the sale of commercial aircraft to Iran. It requires the secretary of the Treasury to report within 30 days, whether transactions related to the export and re-export of aircraft to Iran pose a “significant money laundering or terrorism financing risk to the United States financial system.”

Whether the transactions benefit any Iranian person that has knowingly transported or otherwise supported the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction or provided material support to persons included on Treasury’s sanctions lists, must also be certified by the secretary.

If these conditions cannot be certified, he must explain whether the licenses authorizing the transaction will be revoked, modified, or remain valid despite the potential for illicit transactions or benefits going to sanctioned persons.

The nuclear agreement with Iran, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, allowed the sale of commercial aircraft to Iran, provided the planes are used “exclusively for commercial passenger aviation.” The JCPOA specifically states that if aircraft are used for a prohibited purpose, or transferred or re-sold to individuals or entities on Washington’s sanctions lists, the U.S. would view this as grounds to cease approval of aircraft sales.

TheTreasury issued a Statement of Licensing Policy (SLP) and additional guidance reiterating and expanding on the language of the nuclear deal. The SLP indicated that Treasury would review applications on a case-by-case basis and “include appropriate conditions to ensure” that no sanctioned persons were involved in the transaction. The SLP is consistent with the JCPOA in not requiring the United States to issue licenses for aircraft sales without conditions. As well, the SLP does not guarantee that all applications will be approved. If Washington determines that certain criteria are necessary to ensure that commercial aircraft are used appropriately, an application that does not meet those criteria may be rejected.

Codifying the existing standards in law through this bill makes the licensing process more transparent and gives the American people a clearer picture of a significant component of the sanctions relief provided to Iran under the nuclear agreement.

The bill requires the secretary of the Treasury to issue a report listing all U.S. or foreign financial institutions that have conducted authorized transactions in connection with the export or re-export of commercial aircraft to Iran. This information is not currently part of the public record. Objections to the publication of a list of those involved in aircraft sales revolve around exposing businesses to reputational risks for transacting with Iran — the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.

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