International trade community interests are frequently driven by practical concerns of immediate consequences. Many LawCustoms visitors bring their particular interests, such as savings that can be realized from a particular transaction. Other visitors are interested in a broader picture and looking to learn the structure that shapes international trade scene. History is the bridge that brings together the structure that we have today with foundation upon which it was built.
Iran is particularly interesting to the U.S. international trade community largely due to its resources and geography. Steptoe & Johnson attorneys, for example, provided a well written summary of current state of U.S. sanctions applicable to Iran in their US Sanctions on Iran: 2012 Year in Review. Other distinguished members of the international trade community have written on the topic extensively as well. Undoubtedly, compliance with U.S. laws is a matter of primary concern for U.S. persons and persons that do business with the U.S. (e.g. U.S. subsidiaries). But the mere compliance with the letter, without raising questions about the spirit of the law, is probably counterproductive to the democratic principles so fundamental to the American society.
If one accepts a view that “[a]n educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people,” then real reasons for sanctions that we have today with Iran need answers. Many members of international trade community are also the United States citizens, which puts them in a unique position to question their representatives about laws that Congress approves or disapproves. To ask a good question, however, one should know much of the answer. In case of Iran, looking beyond a threat of Iran’s nuclear program to the U.S. is probably more constructive than an immediate focus on a current initiative. Having a constructive discourse, especially with members of political branches, requires knowledge of history and one’s own critical thinking. LawCustoms project does not bring clear answers or ready solutions on these complex issues, but can suggest a literature as one’s starting point. To that end, the National Security Archive posted a recently released U.S government documents showing unfolding U.S.-Iran relationship in the 1950s. This is significant body of evidence about post-WWII relationship between two nations. It is also an official record, by the U.S. government, which on behalf of people of the United States, decided to shape the relationship with Iran leading to consequences that we have today. At the very least, U.S. government publications demonstrate that sanctions conversation today is not clearly marked in black and white. LawCustoms invites its visitors to take time and read some or all U.S. government documents made available at National Security Archive.