U.S. allows exports of certain education-related services, software to students in Iran

U.S. issued Iran General License M-1, and updated a set of “frequently asked questions”

U.S. issued Iran General License M-1, and updated a set of “frequently asked questions”

The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued Iran General License M-1, "Authorizing the Exportation of Certain Graduate Level Educational Services and Software," and updated a set of “frequently asked questions” (FAQs).

As noted in FAQ 853 (updated August 24, 2021), U.S. academic institutions and their contractors are allowed under the general license to export certain education-related services and software to students in Iran. However, the OFAC release specifically cautions:

…the general licenses … do not authorize the exportation of goods (including software), services, or technology to the Government of Iran or to persons blocked under any authority administered by OFAC, including OFAC’s counterterrorism or counterproliferation authorities.

Text of FAQ 853*

853. Can U.S. academic institutions provide online learning services to Iranian students who are not physically present in the United States because of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic?  Can U.S. technology companies provide software and services to assist Iranian students in accessing online coursework?

Answer

General licenses issued under the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (ITSR) authorize certain U.S. academic institutions and other U.S. persons to provide certain services and software to Iranian students.  These general licenses include:

  • General License G (GL G) authorizes accredited graduate and undergraduate degree-granting U.S. academic institutions, including their contractors, to export services to students located in Iran, or located outside of Iran but who are ordinarily resident in Iran (“Iranian students”), to sign up for and participate in certain undergraduate level online courses, notably:  (i) courses in the humanities, social sciences, law, or business that are the equivalent of courses ordinarily required for the completion of undergraduate degree programs in the humanities, social sciences, law, or business; and (ii) introductory undergraduate level science, technology, engineering, or mathematics courses ordinarily required for the completion of undergraduate degree programs in the humanities, social sciences, law, or business.  In addition, under Section 560.405 of the ITSR, certain transactions ordinarily incident to a licensed transaction are also authorized.  OFAC interprets Section 560.405 of the ITSR to authorize certain transactions ordinarily incident to courses authorized by GL G, including the giving of assignments and testing and grading of Iranian students. 
  • General License M-1 (GL M-1) authorizes, on a time-limited basis, accredited graduate and undergraduate degree-granting U.S. academic institutions, including their contractors, to export additional services to those Iranian students who are eligible for non-immigrant classification under categories F (students) or M (non-academic students), and have been granted a nonimmigrant visa by the U.S. State Department, but are not physically present in the United States due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Specifically, GL M-1 authorizes the provision of certain online educational services related to:  educational courses that are (i) the equivalent of courses ordinarily required for the completion of graduate degree programs in the humanities, social sciences, law, or business; and (ii) introductory science, technology, engineering, or mathematics courses ordinarily required for the completion of graduate degree programs in the humanities, social sciences, law, or business.  OFAC interprets Section 560.405 of the ITSR to authorize certain transactions ordinarily incident to courses authorized by GL M-1, including the giving of assignments and testing and grading of Iranian students.  GL M-1 also authorizes the exportation of certain software to facilitate the participation of certain Iranian students in certain online educational activities, as explained further below.  GL M-1 authorizes covered activities through 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time September 1, 2022.
  • Section 560.540 of the ITSR and General License D-1 authorize the exportation to Iran of certain services and software incident to the exchange of personal communications over the Internet, such as instant messaging, chat and email, social networking, sharing of photos and movies, web browsing, and blogging.  OFAC interprets these authorizations to cover video conferencing software and related services, as well as educational technology software and related services, that allow students to view courses and course materials, complete tests and assignments, receive grades, participate in discussions, and other, similar course-related online activity, provided that the software meets the additional criteria of the applicable authorization.  * * *  In addition, GL M also authorizes the exportation of certain software in order to facilitate participation in online educational activities described in GL G and GL M by Iranian students who are eligible for non-immigrant classification under categories F (students) or M (non-academic students), and have been granted a nonimmigrant visa by the U.S. State Department, but are not physically present in the United States due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

*Hyperlinks in original not reproduced.


For more information on this topic or to learn more about KPMG’s Trade & Customs Services, contact:

Doug Zuvich
Partner and Global Practice Leader
T: 312-665-1022
E: dzuvich@kpmg.com

John L. McLoughlin
Principal and East Coast Leader
T: 267-256-2614
E: jlmcloughlin@kpmg.com

Andy Siciliano
Partner and National Practice Leader
T: 631-425-6057
E: asiciliano@kpmg.com

Steve Brotherton
Principal and Global Export and Sanctions Leader
T: 415-963-7861
E: sbrotherton@kpmg.com

Luis (Lou) Abad
Principal, Washington National Tax
T: 212-954-3094
E: labad@kpmg.com

Irina Vaysfeld
Principal
T: 212-872-2973
E: ivaysfeld@kpmg.com

Amie Ahanchian
Principal
T: 202-533-3247
E: aahanchian@kpmg.com

Christopher Young
Principal
T: 312-665-3229
E: christopheryoung@kpmg.com

Gisele Belotto
Managing Director
T: 305-913-2779
E: gbelotto@kpmg.com

George Zaharatos
Principal
T: 404-222-3292
E: gzaharatos@kpmg.com

Andy Doornaert
Managing Director
T: 313-230-3080
E: adoornaert@kpmg.com

Jessica Libby
Managing Director
T: 612-305-5533
E: jlibby@kpmg.com

 

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