The recent news on increased sanctions on Iran has stirred concern among many that transferring funds out of Iran is no longer permitted. This is not true. Although the Iranian government has itself placed certain limits on foreign exchange trading, transfers for specifically or generally licensed activities are still permitted, subject to certain conditions.
How does this work? President Obama Issued an Executive Order (13599) in early February which effectively called for the blocking of any funds coming into US jurisdiction in which Iranian financial institutions have an interest. Remember, blocking is different from rejection – blocking is when the entity (such as the bank) coming into control of the funds effectively freezes the money and places it in an interest-bearing account (which you cannot access until the block is removed), whereas rejecting is when the money is sent back to the sender.
Does this mean that all types of family gifts, inheritances, and sale proceeds of real estate holdings in Iran will be blocked? No. Along with Executive Order 13599 came General License B, which preserves a previously existing exception in the Iranian Transactions Regulations (ITR). General License B states that US banks can still process authorized funds such as family remittances, to and from Iran. This is of course conditioned upon the the funds being processed through a third country (e.g., Turkey, Kuwait, or UAE) bank subject to certain other restrictions.
What has become increasingly important is that individuals conducting banking activities with foreign countries need to be exceptionally careful that their bank in the US knows what is going on. There are several ways to help reduce the risk of your bank mistakenly rejecting the funds or closing your account altogether (a phenomenon I’m seeing increasingly).