Iran embargo: Conclusion of contract already punishable by law

Even though most of the Iran sanctions have been suspended for suspensive reasons, they still apply with all the criminal law consequences. In this context, a decision of the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) – 3 StR 62/14 – is interesting, according to which the conclusion of a purchase contract alone violates the Iran embargo and is therefore punishable.

Violations of the prohibition of sale, delivery, export and supply

Initially, the BGH found that the conclusion of the contract under the law of obligations alone constitutes a criminal offence under the Foreign Trade and Payments Act (AWG) in connection with the Iran embargo. The subsequent export, delivery and provision of the sanctioned goods or goods are also criminal acts that are carried out together with the prohibition of sale. In particular, these are not criminalised pre- or night dates, so that the offence unit must be taken into account with a more severe penalty.

Criminal liability of conditional sales contracts

The BGH has expressly not commented on the question of whether the conclusion of a conditional purchase contract is also punishable if the final repeal (expiry) of the Iran sanctions is stipulated as a condition. Under no circumstances can this question be answered in general terms. Rather one will have to examine in each individual case whether a punishable sales contract conclusion or merely punishable contract negotiations exist.

O&W Attorneys at Law are your reliable partners in export control and foreign trade law. Information on the Iran embargo can be found here
Lawyer Dr. Tristan Wegner

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