Is there a way to get around sanctions to send money to loved ones in Iran?
Unfortunately, you can't send money to Iran at the time of writing. Even if you have a loved one in Iran who needs money desperately, it's illegal in Australia to send a money transfer to a sanctioned country.
Find out below what you need to know about sanctions when it comes to sending money to someone in Iran.
Why can't I send money to Iran?
Because of sanctions in place, no bank or money transfer company can send money from Australia to Iran. This is because Australia's an active member of the United Nations (UN), which has sanctions that don't allow any kind of financial transactions between Australia and Iran.
If you send money to another country without sanctions against Iran and then pass those funds onto a recipient in Iran, you may face tough legal and financial consequences. You can read more about the sanctions on Iran on the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's website.
Sanctions and Iran
Australia first sanctioned Iran in 2006, due to Iran's refusal to give up its uranium enrichment program for nuclear weapons and working against the UN's own sanctions. Further sanctions were added in 2013, related to natural gas trade and banking. These sanctions ban all transactions with the Central Bank of Iran, unless they're authorised in advance.
Australian banks won't handle a transfer to Iran for you and popular money transfer providers like Western Union and MoneyGram don't offer their services to Iran. Even if you can find a money transfer provider willing to help you send money to Iran you will then need to be very careful about the purpose of the transfer.
There are several complex rules and regulations surrounding money transfers to Iran and there have been some highly publicised cases of people or companies unwittingly falling foul of the law.
Sending money to sanctioned countries and the potential consequences
There are ways that people have chosen to get around these economic sanctions. But we stress that doing so is illegal and exposes you to severe legal and financial penalties. If you choose to route your money through a country that doesn't have sanctions against your intended destination, the UK, for example, you could be charged with money laundering.
What is money laundering?
Money laundering is any activity that illegally obtains money and attempts to conceal the source, destination or identity of those funds. If you're convicted of money laundering crimes, you face years in prison and significant fines.