Office of Foreign Assets Controls (OFAC)

What Special Rules Apply to Cuba, Iran, Syria and Sudan?

Q: What Special Rules Apply to Cuba, Iran, Syria and Sudan?

A: The OFAC regulations pertaining to transactions with these countries vary by country. These regulations address not only export, but a much broader spectrum of activity (e.g., funding, service providing) that OFAC restricts absent specific license approval.

For example, the Cuba sanctions regulate personal travel to Cuba as well as professional research activity conducted with Cuba institutions here and abroad. That said, the Cuba regulations allow for broad range of research and humanitarian related activity when approved by license from OFAC. (See SIUE’s governance on activities pursued through the Cuban and Caribbean Center.)

The Iran regulations, on the other hand, do not regulate individual tourist travel to Iran, but remain highly restricted as to any activity, research or otherwise, which OFAC defines as a “service” to Iran. While certain kinds of collaborative research activity are permissible with Iranian institutions, to the extent such research contemplates the exchange of material items with Iran or, providing advice on establishing a laboratory or research facility in Iran, a license may be required. Likewise, peer review or editorial comment that extends beyond the scope of what is normally defined as credential input or scientific journal editorial review may likewise trigger a license requirement.

With respect to Syria and Sudan, because of the geopolitical instability in both countries, transactions with those nations likewise must be evaluated carefully for evolving sanctions and requirements. 

Hence, when contemplating any research or transactional activity with one of these OFAC countries or foreign nationals known to reside in these countries, contact the Export Control Administrator for assistance before proceeding.