On January 16, 2016 (“Implementation Day”), U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry confirmed that the International Atomic Energy Agency (“IAEA”) had verified Iran’s implementation of certain required measures designed to reduce Iran’s ability to produce weapons grade nuclear materials. As a result, the United States, the European Union and the United Nations suspended or lifted nuclear-related sanctions in compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (“JCPOA”) reached on July 14, 2015 between the P5+1 countries (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States), the European Union and Iran. The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) immediately issued new guidance and FAQs discussing the lifting of the nuclear-related sanctions, and eliminated designations of numerous Iranian individuals and entities from the Specially Designated Nationals (“SDN”) List.
The JCPOA sanctions relief, which is anticipated to have a substantial impact on the Iranian economy, will primarily benefit non-U.S. entities/individuals and permit them the opportunity to do business in Iran (with reduced exposure to U.S. “secondary sanctions”). However, U.S. companies and individuals remain prohibited from engaging in most transactions or dealings with Iran or its government without OFAC authorization. U.S. sanctions targeting Iran for reasons other than nuclear (e.g., support for terrorism, proliferation of WMDs, human rights abuses) are outside the scope of the JCPOA and remain unchanged despite Implementation Day. The U.S. domestic trade embargo on Iran, as well as export controls under the Iranian Transaction and Sanctions Regulations, the Export Administration Regulations and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, remain in place. Therefore, U.S. companies/individuals pursuing transactions involving Iran within one of the limited authorized categories (i.e., commercial passenger aircraft and related parts/services, certain activities by non-U.S. Persons owned/controlled by a U.S. Person and importation of Iranian-origin carpets/foodstuffs) should evaluate the accompanying risks and carefully navigate the remaining U.S.-Iran sanctions framework.
Maynard Cooper’s International Trade Practice advises and assists clients from both defense and dual-use sectors in complying with the U.S. laws and regulations applicable to their business objectives. If you have any questions regarding revisions to U.S. sanctions programs involving Iran or any other aspect of international trade, please contact Alan Enslen (205.254.1095), Harrison Smith (205.254.1101), Trice Stabler (251.300.6287), Joey Chbeir (205.254.1206) or Matthew Moore (256.562.2165).
For more information about Maynard Cooper’s International Trade Practice, please visit the group’s website.