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OFAC Authorizes Temporary Sojourn of US-Controlled Aircraft to Iran

Today, OFAC issued new General License J (“GL J”) authorizing non-U.S. persons to reexport certain “Eligible Aircraft” to Iran. Importantly, GL J only applies to temporary sojourns, meaning that any sales or leases (including wet leases) of aircraft to Iran would still require a specific license. Please click here to view OFAC’s new General License J.

An Eligible Aircraft for purposes of GL J means:

  • A fixed-wing civil aircraft;
  • Containing 10 percent or more U.S.-origin content by value;
  • Classified under Export Control Classification Number (ECCN) 9A991.b; and
  • Registered outside the United States and outside an embargo country (Iran, North Korea, Syria, or Sudan).

In order for a non-U.S. person to reexport an Eligible Aircraft to Iran, all of the following criteria must be met:

  • The non-U.S. person retains the right to:
    1. Hire and fire the cockpit crew;
    2. Dispatch the Eligible Aircraft;
    3. Determine the Eligible Aircraft’s routes; and
    4. Perform or obtain the principal maintenance on the Eligible Aircraft, which will take place outside of Iran under the control of a party who is not an Iranian national ordinarily resident in Iran;
  • The place of registration of the Eligible Aircraft will not change to Iran;
  • There is no transfer of technology to an Iranian national ordinarily resident in Iran;
  • The Eligible Aircraft will not bear the color, livery, or logo of any Iranian air carrier;
  • The Eligible Aircraft will not carry a flight number issued to an Iranian air carrier;
  • The Eligible Aircraft will not be equipped with, or used to transport any items controlled on the United States Munitions List (USML), any items under certain ECCNs including 600 series items, or any items used to facilitate the development or production of a chemical or biological weapon or other weapon of mass destruction and their means of delivery, including ballistic missiles; and
  • The Eligible Aircraft will be in Iran for no more than 72 hours on each temporary sojourn.

Again, new GL J would not authorize any sale, lease or other transfer of control to another entity, nor does it authorize any transaction by a U.S. person. With this general license, foreign air carriers will be able to engage in scheduled flights to Iran. Carriers relying on GL J should still ensure they do not engage in any transactions with individuals or entities located on OFAC’s List of Specially Designated Nationals (“SDN List”). Moreover, foreign parties currently seeking OFAC specific licenses for the sale or lease of commercial passenger aircraft to Iran will need to continue with this process.