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The Iranian Way-Back Machine: 1979-1981

From the OFAC Iran sanctions flyer, there’s a section about the Iranian Assets Control Regulations that’s quite interesting. Basically, while the effect of the regulation is very different from the original, it still lives on…

Separate Iranian sanctions regulations appear at 31 C.F.R. Part 535.

On November 14, 1979, the assets of the Government of Iran in the United States were blocked in accordance with IEEPA following the seizure of the American Embassy in Teheran and the taking of U.S. diplomats as hostages.

Under the Iranian Assets Control Regulations (Title 31, Part 535 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations), some US$12 billion in Iranian Government bank deposits, gold, and other properties were frozen, including $5.6 billion in deposits and securities held by overseas branches of U.S. banks. The assets freeze was eventually expanded to a full trade embargo, which remained in effect until the Algiers Accords were signed with Iran on January 19, 1981. Pursuant to the Accords, most Iranian assets in the United States were unblocked and the trade embargo was lifted.

The U.S. Government also canceled any attachments that U.S. parties had secured against Iranian assets in the United States, so that the assets could be returned to Iran or transferred to escrow accounts in third countries pursuant to the Accords. This action was upheld by the Supreme Court in 1981 in Dames & Moore v. Regan.

Although greatly modified in scope, the old Iranian Assets Control Regulations remain in effect. Many U.S. nationals have claims against Iran or Iranian entities for products shipped or services rendered before the onset of the 1979 embargo or for losses sustained in Iran due to expropriation during that time. These claims are still being litigated in the Iran- United States Claims Tribunal at The Hague established under the Algiers Accords. Certain assets related to these claims remain blocked in the United States and consist mainly of military and dual-use property

Categories: Iranian Sanctions


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