US Customs Seizures of Iranian Goods

Anecdotes are increasing about U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) enforcement of violations of U.S. sanctions on Iran.  CBP, for those who do not know, is effectively OFAC’s (and some other entities’) eyes and ears at U.S. ports. As such, CBP monitors things like the inflow/outflow of cash (irrespective of destination), as well as goods.

A number of people have recently had issues upon returning from Iran.  Just as a rule of thumb:

1. The previous exceptions for dried goods and carpets from Iran no longer exists.  Therefore, unless you fit into certain very narrow exceptions, you cannot bring most of these previously permitted goods into the United States.

2. There are explicit limits on what amounts of gifts can be brought from Iran.  The limit is $100 per gift, and they have to be reasonable, meeting the test outlined in the Iranian Transactions Regulations.  This becomes increasingly problematic for those who bring gifts like jewelry, etc. from Iran.

Suffice to say, you should also be careful not to take export-controlled technologies (goods having dual use, such as laptops, cell phones, etc.) to Iran.


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