Iran Nuclear Agreement – U.S. Policy and Actions
The Joint Comprehensive Program of Action (JCPOA), coming after years of negotiations regarding Iran’s nuclear activities, made major changes in long-standing U.S. and European Union sanctions programs when it was implemented in January 2016. These changes opened commercial opportunities, under still-existing sanctions law and policy, for U.S. and international firms and for foreign subsidiaries of U.S. companies.
While the U.S. and European Union were partners in the negotiations leading to the Iran agreement, there are major differences in the degree to which companies and persons under each jurisdiction can engage in Iran-related business activity. These differences have widened with the imposition of additional U.S. sanctions on Iran for activities unrelated to the JCPOA, and could become a true chasm if the United States abandons the JCPOA as President Trump has threatened to do.
The EU lifted most EU sanctions impeding business with Iran and there is little resistance to further normalization. The situation in the U.S. is very different, however:
Issues Facing Companies in Future Business Dealings with Iran
Both American and international firms contemplating entering or reentering the Iranian market face a number of existing and potential future risks as a result of current U.S. sanctions regulations as well as likely additional actions of the Trump administration or the U.S. Congress. Firms will need to be concerned about the following:
Companies worldwide with significant assets and operations in the United States and that are contemplating doing business with or reentering Iran will want to draw upon broad sources of expertise as they consider their strategy in this changing environment. Engaging legal counsel will, of course, be essential. But knowledge of the legal situation and regulatory environment alone will not be sufficient.
The future of U.S.-Iran relations will be determined through a complex process involving interplay among the Trump administration; Congress; and America’s many private political and policy organizations and European and other partners with whom the U.S. negotiated the JCPOA. Sanctions policies and regulations of the European Union and other countries will need to be considered and evaluated. The views of the Iranian government are relevant. Accurate information and interpretation of developments in these areas will be critical to avoid reputational harm; assess risk; and seize early-mover opportunities when legally permissible.
How Transnational Strategy Group Can Assist
Transnational Strategy Group is an international business and government affairs consultancy with representation worldwide and a long and successful track record of providing Iran sanctions advice and counsel to, and vigorous advocacy in Washington on behalf of firms based in Europe, Japan and the GCC.
TSG is not a law firm. We collaborate with clients’ general counsel and outside counsel, providing a full picture needed by client decision makers. We offer firms a coordinated advisory service, integrating legislative,
political and policy issues having a bearing
on Iran sanctions developments in the principal nations driving events – the U.S., Europe and Iran – as well as active representation in Washington and elsewhere. We provide clients with accurate, detailed and in-depth knowledge of developments, including advocacy where appropriate that helps them determine whether and, if so, how they can do business with Iran consistently with sanctions requirements as well as early indications of relevant and important policy and political developments. Our services include constant contact with key administration and Congressional Iran sanctions decision-makers. Members of
our Iran team participate in the international economic sanctions advisory committee to the State Department.
Iran Strategic Advisory Practice Team
These services are provided by our Iran Strategic Advisory Practice team, headed by TSG President Dana M. Marshall, based in Washington. Mr. Marshall has advised and represented numerous international firms in their Iran sanctions-related concerns over the years. His Iran sanctions clients have included firms from Germany, Italy, Japan and the UAE, in the automotive, aviation, energy, insurance and shipping industries. He is a former senior White House, State and Commerce Department economic and energy policy official.
Other key members of our Iran Practice Group include:
Mr. Jean-François Boittin (based in Paris and Washington). Mr. Boittin has had a long career as a senior civil servant at the French Treasury, with expertise in international economic sanctions, trade negotiations, export financing, EU trade and external policies and transatlantic relations. He headed the economic and financial departments of French Embassies in Berlin and Washington.
Mr. Don DeAmicis (Washington). Mr. DeAmicis is TSG Senior Advisor for International Investment and Development Finance and a former vice president of the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC). Mr. DeAmicis’s background and experience unites U.S. government trade, investment and commercial policy and commercial and official finance.
Mr. Douglas Hengel (Washington). Mr. Hengel was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State responsible for developing and implementing U.S. government economic sanctions policy. He worked extensively on Iran sanctions, including negotiating agreements with several major international energy companies relating to their sanctionable activities in Iran.
Dr. Bijan Khajehpour (Vienna). Dr. Khajehpour is TSG’s Iran consultant and manages the Vienna-based international arm of a group of strategic advisory consulting firms with a focus on Iran. He has advised numerous international companies on strategy and risk management in the emerging markets of the Middle East. He is also a respected speaker at international conferences on economic and political developments in Iran.
Mr. Joel Rubin (Washington). Mr. Rubin is TSG Senior Director for Congressional Affairs. He recently served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative
Affairs where a major responsibility was to explain the nuclear agreement with Iran to key members of Congress. In 2015-2016, he ran for a seat in the House of Representatives. He also served as a Senate staff member.
Mr. Gene Swanzey (Washington). Mr. Swanzey is TSG Senior Advisor for Global Investment Strategy. He is a former senior commercial banker and head of government relations for a major money center bank. He has close and long-standing relationships with Republican and Democratic members of Congress leading banking, foreign relations and other committees with jurisdiction over Iran sanctions, commerce and foreign policy. He enjoys close relationships with money center banks worldwide.
Our Iran Strategic Advisory Practice team offers clients a seamless service in this important yet sensitive area of potential business opportunity. We look forward to discussing how we can assist your firm.
For Additional Information
For further information, interested firms are invited to contact Mr. Marshall, Mr. Boittin, or the TSG professional with whom the prospective client may have an established relationship.