China, France, Germany, Russia, the UK, US, EU, and Iran (the E3+3), have agreed on a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) by which sanctions against Iran will be lifted in exchange for Iran’s agreement never to “seek, develop or acquire any nuclear weapons”. The text of the agreement is here. This is a brief summary of parts of the JCPOA that relate to sanctions.

The Preface states that the JCPOA “will produce the comprehensive lifting of all UN Security Council sanctions as well as multilateral and national sanctions relating to Iran’s nuclear programme, including steps on access in areas of trade, technology, finance and energy”.

“Implementation Day” is the date on which the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) report will verify implementation by Iran of the nuclear-related measures set out in the JCPOA. The JCPOA anticipates that this will take 6-9 months.  On that day:

UN: The E3+3 will submit a draft resolution to the UN Security Council endorsing the JCPOA and providing for termination of all Security Council resolutions imposing Iranian nuclear sanctions, “subject to re-imposition in the event of significant non-performance by Iran of JCPOA commitments” (the so-called “snap back”).

Provided there is no snap back, 10 years from “Adoption Day”, which is 90 days after the UN Security Council passes the resolution endorsing the JCPOA, the UN will no longer be seized of the Iran nuclear issue and all provisions and measures in the resolution will be terminated.

EU & USA: The EU and USA will terminate all of the EU / US Iranian nuclear sanctions listed in Annex II to the JCPOA.

This means that the EU will adopt a Regulation terminating all of its Iranian nuclear sanctions (ie Council Regulation (EU) No 267/2012 as amended). This includes asset freezes & travel bans on designated people & entities, restrictions on banking, insurance & reinsurance, SWIFT, oil, gas, petroleum, shipping & metals restrictions.

The US, acting “pursuant to Presidential authorities” will “seek such legislative action as may be appropriate” to terminate its nuclear related sanctions and will issue waivers… ceasing the application of the statutory nuclear-related sanctions”.  Executive Order 13059 and Executive Order 12613, which impose general US export and import bans on Iran, are not covered by the JCPOA.

Then on “Transition Day”, all remaining sanctions provisions will terminate. Transition Day is the date 8 years after Adoption Day (which is 90 days after endorsement of the JCPOA by the Security Council or an earlier date if agreed) or the date on which the IAEA has reached the “Broader Conclusion” that all nuclear material in Iran remains in peaceful activities (whichever is earlier).

A few other things…

  • There will be no new EU / US nuclear related sanctions.
  • The EU & US, “consistent with their respective laws”, will refrain from any policy “specifically intended to directly and adversely affect the normalization of trade and economic relations with Iran”.
  • Ongoing investigations on sanctions infringements “may be reviewed in accordance with applicable national laws”.
  • If any party to the JCPOA believes the other is not meeting its commitments, it can refer the issue to a Joint Commission for resolution, in a procedure described in the JCPOA which involves eventual recourse to the UN Security Council.
  • The EU will take measures to ensure the “clarity and effectiveness” of sanctions being lifted, and will issue guidelines & statements, in consultation with Iran.
  • The E3+3 have agreed to extend sanctions relief under the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA) with Iran dated 24 November 2013 (see previous blog) through to Implementation Day (OFAC announcement here).  In accordance, the EU has now prolonged until 14 January 2016 the suspension of EU sanctions to “allow the EU to make the necessary arrangements and preparations for the implementation of the new Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action” (statement here and decision here).
This entry was posted in Iran by Maya Lester QC. Bookmark the permalink.

About Maya Lester QC

Maya Lester QC has a wide ranging practice in public law, European law, competition law, international law, human rights & civil liberties. She has a particular expertise in sanctions. As the most recent (2016) Chambers & Partners directory put it, she "owns the world of sanctions". She spent 2011-12 in New York at Columbia Law School lecturing and writing on sanctions. She represents and advises hundreds of companies and individuals before the European and English courts and has acted in most of the leading cases, including Kadi, Tay Za, Central Bank of Iran, NITC and IRISL.

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