the u.n., e.u., u.s.a., and several other countries imposed a comprehensive framework of sanctions preventing most international business dealings with iran.
in July 2015 the p5+1 and iran reached an agreement (the j.c.o.p.a.) providing for the lifting of u.n. security council, most e.u. and some u.s. sanctions related to iran’s nuclear programme. implementation day was announced on january 16th, 2016 following verification by the i.e.a. of the implementation by iran of the nuclear-related measures.
most financial and economic sanctions were lifted following the i.e.a.'s verification that Iran had completed all necessary steps to reach implementation day (16 January 2016). the sanctions that remain in place relate to human rights, proliferation of restricted goods and technology.
non-u.s.persons are no longer subject to extra-territorial u.s. sanctions against iran.
e.u.persons and companies can hence-forth engage in trade with iran in most civil sectors, with certain restricted activities requiring a license and subject to end-user controls.
the full text of the agreement and annexes is available.
the ongoing sanctions require any businesses engaging with iran to consider whether the product or material concerned is restricted, and how payments will be made.
companies have to consider whether their proposed activity is subject to us sanctions and be able to demonstrate reasonable due diligence to have been carried out before engaging in any business activity.
thanks to legislation passed by a sceptical, republican-led congress during the obama era, the legal waivers allowing Iran sanctions to be lifted must be renewed every twelve weeks. in january,2018 mr trump again agreed to continue to suspend economic sanctions on Iran’s central bank and on oil exports. a big part of mr. trump's climb-down is due to public pressure from allies such as britain, france and germany, whose governments made clear that they think this deal is the best available; they would not join mr trump in negotiating a replacement.
the pressure from united states' allies has been unusually public. president macron of France telephoned mr trump to reaffirm his country’s determination both to see the iranian deal “strictly enforced” and to see “all of its signatories abide by it.” the european foreign ministers meeting in brussels earlier this year issued ringing declarations about the continued worth of the nuclear deal, saying in the words of boris johnson, the british foreign secretary, that it “makes the world safer” and that nobody has so far produced a better alternative. late last year, in equally striking comments, the german ambassador to washington warned that tearing up the nuclear deal when iran is abiding by its requirements risked sending a dangerous message.
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