Iran Sanctions - JCPOA in the Balance

April 23, 2018

On 12 May 2018, US President Trump will decide whether or not to renew the US sanctions relief in relation to Iran. Declining to do so would put the US in breach of, and amount to US withdrawal from, the JCPOA, the Iran sanctions/nuclear agreement reached in 20151. Whether or not he does so could have implications for any business (whether in EU or elsewhere) which operates in or with Iran or Iranian entities.

The Background

In January 2016, UN, EU and US sanctions on Iran were significantly eased, in exchange for commitments given by Iran to decommission its nuclear weapons programme, pursuant to the JCPOA.  At the time this easing was heralded as step towards warmer relations between Iran and the West and away from Iran’s economic isolation.  But in January 2018, President Trump, a long-standing critic of the JCPOA, warned that he would not renew the US sanctions relief (a necessary step in US compliance with the JCPOA) in May unless the UK, France and Germany (“the E3”) agree to  “fix the terrible flaws of the Iran Nuclear Deal”. 

1) The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (“JCPOA”) agreed in July 2015 between Iran, USA, Russia, China, UK, France and Germany

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