Update to FAQ on Payments to Iranian Civil Aviation Authorities for Overflights of, or Emergency Landing in, Iran

On November 4, 2014, OFAC updated Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) #417 to clarify that making payments to the Iranian civil aviation authorities for services related to overflights or emergency landings in Iran violates U.S. sanctions law if the U.S. financial system is involved. OFAC further clarified that U.S. persons and U.S.-owned or -controlled foreign entities cannot participate in making any such payments, unless (1) the aircraft involved is U.S.-owned or U.S.-registered or the payments are permitted by a specific OFAC license and (2) the payments comply with the limited scope of 31 C.F.R. Sec. 560.516 (e.g., they do not involve debiting or crediting an Iranian account) or are authorized by a specific license.

The original FAQ had stated that it was not a violation of U.S. sanctions law to pay the Iranian government for services related to overflights or emergency landings in Iran when an aircraft had both non-U.S. ownership and registration.

For more information, see OFAC’s original response to FAQ #417 here and its update here.

OFAC Sanctions Former Yemeni President and Others for Undermining Stability in Yemen

Earlier this month, OFAC added three persons to its Yemen-related SDN list. The action took place in conjunction with similar sanctions by the United Nations. The most prominent member among the newly named designees is former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, accused by the Obama administration of undermining stability in Yemen by supporting the Houthi rebel group’s violent acts in the Yemen capital, Sana. The other two designations are for two military leaders of the rebel group.

For more information, see press releases from OFAC and the UN,OFAC’s designation, and coverage by the New York TimesReuters and The Wall Street Journal.

BIS Imposes License Requirements for Items Destined for Military Use in Venezuela

On November 7, 2014, BIS amended the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) to impose license requirements on the export, reexport or in-country transfer of certain items to or within Venezuela when destined for a military end use or end user. The amendment is in response to the Venezuelan military’s use of violence against its own civilians to quash antigovernment protests beginning in February 2014, and it complements the U.S. arms embargo against Venezuela for failing to provide counterterrorism cooperation.

For more information, see the BIS final rule here.

Clarification to Export Administration Regulations on Control of Spacecraft Systems and Related Items

Earlier this month, BIS issued a final rule, following the publication in May of an interim final rule, which transitioned commercial communication satellites and certain spacecraft-related parts from the U.S. Munitions List (USML) to the Commerce Control List. The final rule makes certain technical corrections and clarifications (e.g., regarding destination control statements and definitions), but the substance of the interim rule remains intact. The final rule is part of President Obama’s Export Control Reform Initiative. Remaining on the USML are space-related military functions, manned spacecraft, high-level sensors and some satellite integration/launch services.

For more information, see the final rule here and coverage here. See Red Notice coverage on issuance of the interim final rule here.