Latest development in the EU and US sanctions relief for Iran

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has verified that Iran has implemented its nuclear-related commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and the UN, the EU and the US have lifted their nuclear-related economic and financial sanctions against Iran as a result. What does the EU and US sanctions relief mean for EU businesses?

1. EU sanctions relief

As of January 16, 2016, ‘Implementation Day’, the EU has lifted the prohibition on dealing with Iran in respect of:

  • Financial, banking and insurance services
  • Oil, gas and petrochemical sectors
  • Shipping, shipbuilding and transport sectors
  • Gold, other precious metals, banknotes and coinage
  • Metals
  • Software

We strongly recommend that you carefully consider the sanctions relief for the abovementioned areas. The ‘Information Note on EU sanctions to be lifted under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)’ provides further guidance:

In addition, as of January 16, certain persons and entities have been delisted and consequently are no longer subject to the asset freeze, prohibition to make funds available and visa ban. This delisting has reduced the number of persons and entities subject to restrictions from 93 people and 467 entities to 29 and 94 respectively. However, it is still important to ascertain whether the Iranian counterparty is considered a restricted party.

Proliferation-related sanctions and restrictions remaining in place

Please note that some proliferation-related sanctions and restrictions will remain in place after Implementation Day. These are the arms embargo, sanctions related to missile technology, restrictions on certain nuclear-related transfers and activities, provisions concerning certain metals and software which are subject to an authorization regime, as well as related listings under anti-terrorism and human rights legislation.

2. US sanctions relief

The US has also lifted some of its nuclear-related sanctions, but will maintain a substantial number of human rights and terrorism-based sanctions against Iran. For the details and consequences of the lifting of sanctions in the US we recommend that you consult the US Guidelines on the lifting of sanctions:

It is important to note in this respect that European businesses also need to consider the extraterritorial jurisdiction of US sanctions regulations.

Finally, please note that in the event of significant non-performance by Iran of its commitments under the JCPOA all the sanctions lifted by the EU and US will ‘snapback’, i.e. be reinstated.


We have specialists dedicated to national/international export controls and sanctions, ensuring that we are well placed to help understand local and global operating commitments and requirements.

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