The effect of U.S Sanctions on Providing Legal Services to Iran

Document Type : Original Article


1 (Assistant Professor of Law, Imam Sadiq University

2 Assistant Professor of Law, Shahid Beheshti University



As the U.S. sanctions against Iran have been expanded, many legal service providers, even in European countries, refused to provide legal services to Iranian nationals or disputes that are somehow related to Iran. In particular, this refusal by arbitration organizations has been more noticed.

The main question of this research is whether the U.S. secondary sanctions can be invoked for the refusal to provide legal services by arbitration organizations and, accordingly, the financial services of financial institutions which are active in arbitration processes.

According to the three executive orders by the president of the U.S.A. against Iran, On the one hand, the provision of legal and financial services by arbitration organizations and financial institutions active in arbitration processes exposes them to the risk of sanctions and penalties for violations of the sanctions; On the other hand, A general license has been stipulated in § 560.525 (a) and (d) of the “Iranian Transactions And Sanctions Regulations” which includes the provision of legal services. But even this is not certain. This exception is also limited and restricted according to § 560.525 (d)(1) of

In conclusion, although, these three executive orders and the general license exception have not explicitly prohibited the provision of legal and related financial services to Iranian nationals or disputes that are somehow related to Iran; practically, they turn it into a cost-benefit-based evaluation that is done by arbitration organizations and financial institutions, even if the refusal to provide services leads to the possibility of claiming for damages against them.


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