May 032014

Ahmad Wrote:

Pls i wanna know how i can send money from Iran to the state (USA)? Pls, it is urgent i wanna send it to my sick family.

Answered by Mohammed Waseem:

No bank in Iran can deal with any entity in the US for the fact that they have been listed by the US under Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which is the biggest of the black lists maintained by the US.

Iranian Riyal Bill

An Iranian Riyal Bill

In other words, any funds coming into the US, in which an Iranian institution has some financial interest, is blocked. This essentially means the freezing of the money until the block is removed. But some of the banks can be used for personal remittances; these banks have been licensed by the OFAC to carry out some transactions. It is very difficult to obtain such licenses; in fact, any person wanting to even close an account is required to obtain authorization of OFAC.

The hawala system was in place for transferring money to and from Iran, but even that was stopped later. Hawala is when a third country bank is involved in the transfer process. Some people are using the traditional method of carrying physical cash to and from Iran due to the problems with the sanctions. However, non-commercial transfers are allowed through some banks like I mentioned, but I could not find the list of banks included. You could ask your local bank if they make such transfers.

Most leading money transfer services including Western Union, PayPal and MoneyGram do not operate in Iran. I read that companies including ZTransfer and Rialex offered the service to send funds from Iran to the US, but they seem to have closed down their websites for some reason. I suppose there is no way to transfer money to the US from Iran, except if local banks are authorized by OFAC to make such a transfer.

Apr 112013

By W.H.A.|

I received the following question from Mehrshad Koleini.

Question: Dear Sir/ Madam. Hi. I would like to post few handicrafts nearly cost 1 to 1.5 thousand dollars every month to different shops in the US. However, I do not know how to get my money (Iran). Would you mind giving me some options, please?


Iranian handcrafts

Iranian handcrafts cannot be legally imported or sold in the USA.

Mehrshad, I’m afraid that direct trade between the United States and Iran (in either direction) is a violation of U.S. sanctions.

Furthermore, sending U.S. currency to Iran would be a violation of sanctions. Only non-commercial family transfers are allowed, and even those must go through an intermediary third-country bank.

Bitta Mostofi, an Iranian-American activist and lawyer, says that current sanctions law bans the import of any goods of Iranian origin. That, she explains, includes “things as benign as rugs or artisan goods created in Iran, even things your family gives you.”

So there is no way you can legally send Iranian handcrafts to the USA for sale, or send U.S. currency to Iran.