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Iran

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On July 23, 2019, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) issued an Iran-Related Civil Aviation Industry Advisory (the “Advisory”) that provides cautionary guidance to the civil aviation industry on compliance with US sanctions measures targeting Iran.  The Advisory articulates the following key messages: (i) both US and non-US parties in the civil aviation industry remain at risk of US enforcement actions and economic sanctions for engaging in or supporting unauthorized transfers…

Upon the request of France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Iran, the Joint Commission of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) held an extraordinary meeting on 28 July 2019. The talks were held in the context of rising tensions in the Persian Gulf, following the seizure of tankers and Iran’s admitted breach of the terms of the JCPOA restricting its production of enriched uranium. The parties reaffirmed their commitment to preserving the JCPOA, however…

The High Representative of the European Union and the Foreign Ministers of France, Germany and the United Kingdom released a joint statement today (see here for the full statement) following Iran’s announcement yesterday that it would withdraw from certain commitments as agreed as part of the 2015 nuclear agreement (see our post here on this). The statement urged Iran to continue to implement its commitments under the nuclear agreement, stating that Iran’s compliance would be…

President Hassan Rouhani has announced that Iran will withdraw from certain commitments agreed in the 2015 nuclear agreement; this announcement comes a year after the agreement was abandoned by the US, leading to the re-imposition of US sanctions against Iran. In his 8 May 2019 announcement, Hassan Rouhani declared that Iran will stop exporting its surplus enriched uranium. This decision is contrary to the agreement, under which Iran is required to sell its surplus enriched…

On April 30, 2019, the Department of Defense, Defense Acquisition Regulations System, published in the Federal Register an interim rule [Docket DARS-2019-0016] amending the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) to implement a section of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 that prohibits acquisition of certain magnets and tungsten from North Korea, China, Russia, and Iran.

On March 13, 2019, the Federal Register published Presidential Notice of March 12, 2019 Continuation of the National Emergency With Respect to Iran, which extends for an additional year the national emergency first declared by Executive Order (EO) 12957 (March 15, 1995). More comprehensive sanctions on Iran were imposed in EO 12959 (May 6, 1995). EO 13059 (August 19, 1997) consolidated and clarified those orders.

On 31 January, EU Foreign Ministers Jean-Yves Le Drian (France), Heiko Maas (Germany) and Jeremy Hunt (United Kingdom) announced the registration of the Instrument for Supporting Trade Exchanges (“INSTEX SAS”), a Special Purpose Vehicle designed to facilitate legitimate trade between European economic operators and Iran (press release available here). This comes after the joint announcement, in November 2018, affirming the EU’s commitment to maintaining financial channels with Iran after the US withdrawal from the JCPOA, and subsequent reports of delays encountered in setting up this SPV.

Following the snap-back of US sanctions on 5 November 2018, Foreign and Finance Ministers from the UK, France, Germany and the EU published a joint statement in which they expressed their “regret” at the re-imposition of sanctions on Iran by the US and also reiterated their “aim to protect European Economic operators engaged with legitimate business with Iran”. These comments suggest that the EU is determined to continue economic relations with Iran and that the proposed Special Purpose Vehicle (“SPV“), announced by the EU on 24 September, is still under consideration.

On October 16, 2018, the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) designated certain Iranian entities and banks as Specially Designated Nationals (“SDNs”) pursuant to Executive Order (“EO”) 13224, which targets terrorists and those providing support to terrorism. A full list of those entities designated as part of this action is available here.  US Persons (i.e., entities organized under US laws and their non-US branches; parties physically located in the United States; US citizens and permanent resident aliens wherever located or employed) are prohibited from dealing directly or indirectly with SDNs.  Under the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (“ITSR”), non-US entities owned or controlled by US Persons are also prohibited from dealing with SDNs that are located or based in Iran (regardless of their reason for designation) or owned or controlled by the Government of Iran (regardless of where they are located).