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Asset freeze requirements are central to most UN Security Council sanctions regimes. In order to ensure proportionality and minimise unintended consequences, certain exemptions are built into the requirements of each regime. In the case of UN sanctions on Iran, the exemptions extended to assets connected with contracts in place before sanctions were imposed. While UN sanctions on Iran were in place, an Iranian financial entity (IFE), otherwise subject to the asset freeze, made payments over several years under such a contract. Payments were received largely on schedule except for a period of about thirteen to fourteen months after the IFE was excluded from the SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) system. Jonathan Brewer shows how UN asset freeze exemptions worked as intended in this case.
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