The United States has for many years imposed extensive and wide-ranging sanctions on the oil & gas industry in Iran. While the politics of this are complicated (and go back well before the present dispute about Iran’s nuclear programme), the sanctions create difficulties for companies around the world, since they purport to bind companies neither owned by, nor trading in, the United States, particularly when they purchase products for onward sale to Iranian customers.
Traprain has been involved in reviewing this position on behalf of two different clients to ensure that, irrespective of whether the American authorities really do have jurisdiction, the client does not end up in a position where they are breaching United States law.
Traprain was able to give quick and efficient advice as to the extent of United States sanctions and their applicability to the transactions in question. Traprain has existing arrangements with lawyers in the United States who are able to liaise with the United States Treasury Department (the body responsible for administering sanctions) and seek their guidance on the subject. We were also able to prepare an application on behalf of one client for dispensation from the full effect of the sanctions, and although it was eventually decided not to proceed with the transaction for other reasons, this process could have enabled the client to proceed without the concern that they could find themselves in a major legal dispute with the government of the United States.
This is an area where law and politics overlap and Traprain was also able to give advice on the political risk analysis relating to sanction regimes, not only relating to the United States but also of the European Union, United Kingdom and the United Nations.