Economy, Business And Markets

US-Origin Aircraft Allowed to Land in Iran

US-Origin Aircraft Allowed to Land in IranUS-Origin Aircraft Allowed to Land in Iran

The US late on Friday issued a license allowing foreign carriers to fly to Iran without fear of violating US sanctions.

A technical rule of the US Treasury Department’s Iran sanctions regulations barred US-origin aircraft, even if operated by foreign carriers, from landing in Iran unless the carrier got a specific license for that flight.

Each flight, under the US export controls rules, is considered a temporary reexport. However, the rule was almost never enforced, according to one expert, who said the license codifies a “don’t-ask, don’t tell” aspect of Iran sanctions compliance.

“All these aircraft that have been flying to Iran for years have [technically] been in violation of the Iran transaction regulations, but they [Treasury] were never enforcing it,” said Douglas Jacobson, a partner at the international-trade focused firm Jacobson Burton Kelley PLLC.

“They would always say: ‘We’re aware of the issue’,” said Jacobson.

The license allows “temporary sojourns” into Iran by “eligible aircraft” for no more than 72 hours. The aircraft making the trip can carry spare parts, so long as they’re only for the maintenance of that aircraft.

Jacobson noted that because US jurisdiction on its exports is extraterritorial, the rules applied to aircraft manufactured in the US even after purchase by a foreign airline. As a result, foreign carriers servicing Iranian airports were less inclined to buy American-made aircraft due to the sanctions risk.

“This is a reasonable license to allow these aircraft to go to Tehran, be on the ground for up to three days and then leave,” he said.