OFAC issues COVID-19 general licenses to address global humanitarian needs in sanctioned countries

On June 17, 2021, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control issued Syria General License 21, Venezuela General License 39, and Iran General License N, to temporarily authorize certain transactions and activities related to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic that expand upon the humanitarian-related exemptions, exceptions, and authorizations issued by OFAC at the onset of the pandemic.  All three GLs, that expire on June 17, 2022, are aimed improving the delivery of items such as face masks, ventilators and oxygen tanks, vaccines and COVID-19 tests, among others, to provide COVID-19-related assistance to people in sanctioned jurisdictions. To provide additional clarity on the authorizations provided by these general licenses, OFAC concurrently issued frequently asked questions 906 – 911.

These GLs were issued in accordance with National Security Memorandum – 1 that instructed the Departments of Treasury, Commerce, State, Health and Human Services, and the US Agency for International Development to identify any existing multilateral financial and economic sanctions that might hinder US efforts to provide global COVID-19 assistance.  OFAC encourages anyone interested in providing COVID-19 relief to people in Iran, Syria and Venezuela to utilize the available exceptions and exemptions related to humanitarian assistance and contact OFAC’s Sanctions Compliance and Evaluation Division for additional guidance if needed.

Department of Treasury Press Release | Department of Treasury Recent Action (links to FAQ 906-911) | Syria General License 21| Venezuela General License 39| Iran General License N

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