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Treasury Allows Companies to Wind Down Iran Business - Corruption Currents - WSJ

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Amid the quiet week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, the U.S. Treasury Department significantly altered how it plans to implement looming Iran sanctions, allowing companies an easier way to find the exit door.

A law signed by President Barack Obama in August targets parent companies of foreign subsidiaries doing business in Iran after Oct. 9, with sanctions. The law, implemented on that date via executive order, closed a long-standing loophole in existing U.S. sanctions on Iran.

To get out from under the bull’s-eye, however, a company can completely divest its Iran business by Feb 6, 2013. But left unclear was what would happen to companies with foreign subsidiaries taking on the process of winding down their Iran operations in that timeframe.

The process could be cumbersome, and it includes doing things like returning down payments, fulfilling final orders or negotiating end terms, lawyers said.

Under a final rule filed in Wednesday’s Federal Register, much of the uncertainty was clarified by the U.S. Treasury Department.