On June 10, 2022, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control issued Syria General License 21A, Venezuela General License 39A and Iran General License N-1 in order to temporarily authorize certain activities to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Each license is effective until June 17, 2023. OFAC also updated Frequently Asked Questions 906 – 911 in order to further clarify the provisions in these three general licenses.
Syria GL 21A authorizes the exportation, reexportation, sale, and supply of services to Syria related to the prevention, diagnosis or treatment of COVID-19 that would otherwise be prohibited by the Syrian Sanctions Regulations. The authorization applies to all permitted transactions involving the Government of Syria, Polymedica LLC, Letia Company, or any entity in which Polymedics or Letia owns a 50 percent or greater interest, provided that the export/reexport of items to Syria are licensed or otherwise authorized by the Department of Commerce. This license replaces and supersedes GL 21 in its entirety.
Venezuela GL 39A authorizes certain COVID-19-related activities involving the Government of Venezuela related to the prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of COVID-19 that would otherwise be prohibited by EO 13808, as amended by EO 13857 or EO 13884, as incorporated into Venezuela Sanctions Regulations. The authorization also permits COVID-19-related transactions involving three Venezuelan banks – Banco Central de Venezuela (BCV); Banco de Venezuela, SA Banco Universal (Banco de Venezuela); and Banco Bicentenario del Pueblo, de la Clase Obrera, Mujer y Comunas, Banco Universal CA (Banco Bicentenario del Pueblo) – or any entity in which these banks own a 50 percent or greater interest. This license replaces and supersedes GL 39 in its entirety.
Finally, Iran GL N-1 authorizes certain COVID-19-related activities involving the exportation, reexportation, sale or supply of goods or technology related to prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of COVID-19 to Iran, the Government or Iran, or third countries that purchase specifically for resale to Iran or Government of Iran that would otherwise be prohibited by the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (ITSR). This includes the re-import of broken, defective, or non-operational COVID-19-related goods back to the US that are connected to product recalls or other safety concerns, or returned to the US or a third country for routine maintenance or permanent return. This GL also allows for the exportation, reexportation, sale, or supply of COVID-19-related services to Iran or the Government of Iran and allows for the importation of these services into the US. The export or reexport of COVID-19-related goods or technology is subject to certain conditions specified in the GL.
GL N-1 also authorizes certain transactions involving the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) or the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) or any entity that the CBI or NIOC owns a 50 percent or greater interest that would otherwise be prohibited by the ITSR, the Global Terrorism Sanctions Regulations, or EO 13224, as amended. This includes certain financial transactions that are necessary to process the transactions and activities permitted in GL N-1. This license replaces and supersedes GL N in its entirety.
Finally, OFAC updated six FAQs to address the new GLs, including FAQ 906 which distinguishes Syria GL 21A, Venezuela GL 39A, and Iran N-1 from existing humanitarian exemptions, exceptions, and authorizations. FAQ 907 provides examples of COVID-19-related goods or technology that are permitted under Iran GL N-1 and the types of transactions that are permitted for the export or reexport of these items. FAQ 908 discusses the types of COVID-19-related services that are permitted under Iran GL N-1 and Syria GL 21A, while FAQ 909 discusses the types of transactions that are authorized under Venezuela GL 39A. FAQ 910 sets due diligence expectations for US financial institutions to follow when processing authorized COVID-19-related transactions, and FAQ 911 provides that non-US persons who engage in the transactions and activities that US persons are permitted to engage under these COVID-19 GLs, do not risk exposure to sanctions.