The E3/EU+3, comprising China, Russia, France, Germany, the UK, and the United States, have extended sanctions relief on Iran for a further 3 days until 10 July 2015 in order to continue their negotiations over a comprehensive solution to Iran’s nuclear program, aimed at ensuring its purpose is strictly peaceful. This is the fourth time the sanctions relief has been extended, following the recent extension from 30 June until 7 July on the same basis (see previous blog).
US State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf announced that “substantial progress” had been made in recent days, and added that “we’re frankly more concerned about the quality of the deal than we are about the clock”. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has told reporters that there are 3 main sticking points, “limitations on nuclear research and development, sanctions and their reestablishment, and the possible military dimensions” of previous Iranian nuclear research. Yesterday, a Western official also stated that “the Iranians want the ballistic missile sanctions” to be lifted, but “there’s no appetite for that on our part”, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said today that a UN arms embargo against Iran is a “major problem”.
The sanctions relief is set out in the November 2013 Joint Plan of Action (JPOA), and eases US and EU sanctions on Iran’s petrochemical exports, gold, and precious metals, eases US sanctions on Iran’s auto-industry, licences the supply and installation of certain parts and services to Iran’s aviation industry, prohibits further UN, EU, or US nuclear-related sanctions, establishes a financial channel to facilitate humanitarian trade with Iran, and increases the monetary threshold for transactions involving Iran before they have to be authorised.
The US Treasury’s guidance on the extension of sanctions relief is here and HM Treasury’s guidance on thresholds for prior notification of Iran transfers, which remain the same, is here. The related EU decision is here.