Actions to Enforce the Iran Sanctions Act and Implement Contractor Certification Requirement

January 24, 2012

Since the fall of 2010, State has sanctioned 13 foreign firms under the ISA—2 for investments in Iran's energy sector and 11 for supplying refined petroleum products.

State imposed various sanctions on each firm, listed 10 in EPLS making them ineligible to receive U.S. government contracts, and was in the process of listing the remaining 3 firms in EPLS at the time of this report. To enforce the ISA, State has increased its staff to review available information on companies' activities in Iran's energy sector, including information indicating whether affiliated parent companies should be held accountable, relying heavily on the intelligence community and U.S. embassies to corroborate the information. The final decision on whether to apply sanctions is made by the Secretary of State or a delegee after the information and evidence of potentially sanctionable activity is vetted through State and other agencies when applicable. In addition to sanctions, State officials told us that they have been successful in persuading firms to end their business dealings with Iran, and that the number of foreign firms involved in Iran's energy sector has declined. However, they acknowledged that some firms are still operating in Iran's energy sector, and they are continuing their efforts to enforce the ISA.

In September 2010, the administration revised the FAR, as required by CISADA, to include a requirement for prospective contractors to certify that they or any firm owned or controlled by them are not engaging in activities for which sanctions may be imposed under section 5 of the ISA. The certification was subsequently added to the governmentwide electronic system for maintaining various certifications and representations that are required for contractors to do business with the government. The FAR was also revised to include remedies upon determination of false certification and procedures for obtaining waivers to the certification requirement, which would be needed if it was in the national interest for an agency to contract with a firm that has engaged in sanctionable activity. 

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