Why Can't I Buy Iranian Rial From SafeDinar.com?

Iranian Rial

Money Talks
Why Can't I Buy Iranian Rial From SafeDinar.com?

In response to the change in sanctions regarding Iran, SafeDinar.com has seen increasing interest from clients looking to buy Iranian rial. Because our research has indicated the purchase of Iranian currency or goods remains illegal, Safedinar.com is not offering the rial for sale at this time.

The lifting of sanctions against Iran is a result of that country’s compliance with a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) requiring it to demonstrate the peaceful nature of its nuclear activities. This partial repeal of sanctions has several immediate effects, including the release of $50 billion to $100 billion US in previously frozen Iranian funds and assets. The deal also paves the way for Iran to participate in oil sales on the open market. While this historic shift in policy regarding Iran is a significant step, it is our understanding that other sanctions and associated penalties remain in place.

While we are aware of several websites beginning to sell Iranian rial, our research has yielded no definitive evidence that recent changes make it legal for U.S. entities to sell or buy Iranian currency. In fact, in a recent conversation with the the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), that office definitively stated it is NOT permissible for U.S. entities or individuals to participate in the exchange of the rial. According to an FAQ provided by the U.S. Department of the Treasury,

…beginning on Implementation Day, it is no longer sanctionable for foreign financial institutions to conduct or facilitate any significant transaction related to the purchase or sale of Iranian rials (or a derivative, swap, future, forward, or other similar contract whose value is based on the exchange rate of the Iranian rial) or maintain funds or accounts outside of the territory of Iran denominated in the Iranian rial.[i]

OFAC has informed Safedinar.com that the current agreement allows for only foreign, non-U.S. institutions to deal in the rial; as a U.S.-based financial institution, we are by no means allowed to exchange the rial.

In addition to the guidance in the FAQ, other documents released by the U.S. Department of the Treasury state, "The U.S. domestic trade embargo imposed on Iran... remains in place following Implementation Day." Despite the repeal of some sanctions under the JCPOA, under the terms of the U.S. trade embargo, U.S. companies and citizens "continue to be broadly prohibited from engaging in transactions or dealings directly or indirectly with Iran or its government."[ii]

The penalties for violating sanctions on trade with Iran are severe. As a federally-regulated Money Business Service (MSB), we at SafeDinar.com take these penalties very seriously, both for our business and the customers we serve. The penalties for violating Iran sanctions, published by the Treasury, read as follows:

Any U.S. person who violates the correspondent account provisions of the IFSR may be subject to civil penalties of up to the greater of $250,000 or twice the transaction value, and criminal penalties for willful violations of up to $1 million and 20 years in prison. A U.S. financial institution may be subject to civil penalties of up to the greater of $250,000 or twice the transaction value.[iii]

Despite the potential for the rial to appreciate, the penalties and risks inherent in violating Federal trade and economic sanctions prevent us from offering the rial for sale at this time. We take this stance to protect both ourselves and our customers from potential liability and penalties. If you need information about buying or selling other exotic currencies, please call 877-723-3391 or email us.

If you would like to be informed of any changes to our ability to sell the Iranian rial, you can enter your information below to be contacted.

At SafeDinar.com, we want our customers to be informed on how and why we conduct business in a specific manner. Our goal is to provide the best service possible. While we may publish our opinion on news in the industry, this notice is intended solely for informational purposes, for readers interested in the subject of foreign currencies. It reflects only the thoughts, opinions or understandings of the writer, whether SafeDinar.com or a third party, and it does not constitute investment, financial or legal advice. Please see the Terms and Conditions governing use of the SafeDinar.com website and SafeDinar's services.

[i] https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Documents/jcpoa_faqs.pdf
[ii] https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Documents/implement_guide_jcpoa.pdf
[iii] https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/faqs/Sanctions/Pages/faq_iran.aspx

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