U.S. President Bill Clinton executive order outlining new economic sanctions against Iran is considered the toughest imposed by a U.S. leader against any country. Despite its comprehensive nature, it includes some exceptions, allowing minimal links between the two countries. One example is mail and telephone services which remain unhampered. Another is the exchange of information.
Recently, the Office of Foreign Asset Control, an arm of the Treasury Department in charge of enforcing the sanctions, issued a guideline on the bilateral exchange of information:
The following general license is issued pursuant to the authority delegated to the Secretary of the Treasury in Executive Order 12959 of May 6, 1995, 60 FR 24757 (May 9, 1995):
(a) The exportation to Iran of information and informational materials, whether commercial or otherwise, regardless of format or medium of transmission, is exempt from the prohibitions contained in Executive Order 12959.
(b) The importation of information and informational materials of Iranian origin from any location, whether commercial or otherwise, regardless of format or medium of transmission, is authorized.
(c) All financial and other transactions related to the importation or exportation of information and informational materials are authorized.
(d) Specific licenses may be issued on a case-by-case basis for the exportation of equipment necessary for the establishment of news wire feeds or other transmissions of information or informational materials.
(e) For the purpose of this general license:
(1) The term informational materials includes, without limitation:
(i) Publications, films, posters, phonograph records, photographs, microfilms, microfiche, tapes, compact disks, CD ROMs, artwork, and news wire feed:
(ii) To be considered informational materials, artwork must be classified under chapter subheading 9701, 9702 or 9703 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States;
(2) The terms information and informational materials with respect to U.S. exports do not include items:
(i) That would be controlled for export pursuant to section 5 of the Export Administration Act of 1979, 50 U.S.C. App. 2401-2420 (1993) (the “EAA”), or section 6 of the EAA to the extent that such controls promote the nonproliferation or antiterrorism policies of the United States, including “software” that is not “publicly available” as these terms are defined in 15 CFR Parts 779 and 799.1 (1994); or
(ii) With respect to which acts are prohibited by 18 U.S.C. chapter 37; and
(3) The terms “information” and “informational materials” do not include blank media for recording information.
issued: June 14, 1995
R. Richard Newcomb
Director, Office of Foreign Assets Control