The recent diplomatic breakthrough in the conflict over Iran’s nuclear programme, which has been widely reported in the media, initially has little impact on existing sanctions against Iran. The European sanctions will therefore remain in force until they are lifted by corresponding European Union (EU) regulations. The same applies to the US sanctions against Iran, which may also affect companies based in Germany. However, a gradual lifting of sanctions could already be expected from the first quarter of 2016. High time to prepare for the Iran business!
Comprehensive Iran sanctions remain in force for the time being
The prohibitions and authorisation requirements of Regulation (EU) No. 267/2012 with the loosening ordered in Regulation (EU) No. 42/2014 continue to apply. In addition to the export ban, the ban on the sale of the sanctioned goods also applies. Furthermore, the financial sanctions and the provision prohibition continue to apply. It is therefore prohibited to make funds or economic resources directly or indirectly available to listed persons, institutions and companies.
In addition, the sanctions under Regulation (EC) No 359/2011, which were imposed because of the human rights situation in Iran, and other export control restrictions continue to apply. These are not affected by the current agreement in the nuclear conflict.
Suspension of certain Iran sanctions until 14 January 2016
On 24 November 2013, China, France, Germany, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States agreed with Iran on a Joint Plan of Action with a concept for a long-term comprehensive solution to the Iranian nuclear issue. In this context, certain sanctions have been suspended, such as in the area of import, purchase and transport of Iranian petrochemical products and the provision of related services or in the area of trade in gold and precious metals.
Furthermore, under the Joint Action Plan, the ceilings for authorisations for money transfers to and from Iran have been increased tenfold.
Following the recent agreement, this suspension has now been extended until 14 January 2016.
Gradual lifting of Iran sanctions expected from 2016
On the basis of the Joint Plan of Action, the agreement on the long-term and comprehensive solution of the Iranian nuclear issue described above was reached with Iran on 14 July 2015(“Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action”). This provides for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to confirm in a report that Iran has implemented the first key steps envisaged in the agreement to decommission its nuclear programme. Only then will the EU and the US be obliged to grant comprehensive sanctions relief. If the agreement is implemented as planned, sanctions are expected to be reduced from the first quarter of 2016.
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