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August 5, 2009

Treasury rejects freezing Iran visitors’ bank accounts

Washington, DC – The United States Treasury has amended the way it enforces Iran sanctions to prevent the freezing of U.S. bank accounts of persons visiting Iran.  The new regulations will protect Iranian Americans and others who travel to Iran from having their accounts frozen simply for being in Iran.  Under the previous rule, some Iranian Americans had their financial accounts frozen for merely checking the accounts over the internet from inside Iran.

Previously, American financial institutions had frozen the accounts of anyone they determined was located in Iran. Now, the Treasury is clarifying that its regulations apply only to “persons who are ordinarily resident in Iran.”

The Iranian-American scholar Haleh Esfandiari famously had her bank account frozen under the previous regulations after her bankers learned that she was in Iran from media reports about her imprisonment there in 2007.




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