The US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has issued an FAQ providing guidance relating to the provision of humanitarian goods and assistance to Iran in response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 outbreak there. The guidance summarizes existing legal authorities that may authorize such humanitarian activities, which include:

  • The making of humanitarian donations from the US or by US persons to recipients in Iran (other than to the Government of Iran, persons on OFAC’s SDN List, and certain other blocked parties) under 560.210(b) of the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (“ITSR”);
  • The supply to Iran of humanitarian goods, including medicine and medical devices, from the US or by US persons, US-owned or -controlled foreign entities, and non-US persons to Iran or the Government of Iran under various exemptions, exceptions, and authorizations to US sanctions law, including the general licenses in ITSR Section 560.530 which authorizes the export/reexport to Iran of agricultural commodities, medicine, and medical devices and related transactions;
  • The export or re-export by NGOs of services to or related to Iran in support of certain activities designed to directly benefit the Iranian people, including the provision of donated health-related services and distribution of donated articles such as medicine, under General License E; and
  • Other types of humanitarian activities or exports by US persons authorized by specific licenses from OFAC.

The guidance, and the underlying authorities it references, include a number of detailed conditions and terms, including various restrictions on transactions involving the Government of Iran, SDNs, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and others. Authors: Sylwia A. Lis, Lise S. Test and Daniel Andreeff.