The UK has a range of economic sanctions in place to enforce either EU or UN sanctions. Sanctions are political trade restrictions put in place against target countries to maintain or restore international peace and security.
Import sanctions are currently in force against Iran, North Korea, Somalia and Syria. Some of these sanctions have derogations in place that allow trade to continue in certain specific circumstances. This is currently the case for Iran and Syria. These sanction import derogations are administered through import licensing. An import licence will be issued to anyone that applies for and meets the relevant derogation criteria.
The Import Case Management System (ICMS) system allows importers of goods, to make completely electronic applications for import licences, subject to Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) Import Licensing Branch import controls. This should reduce the administrative burdens on business, making it easier for them to apply. It should also speed up the time it takes to receive an import licence.
You can apply for a new import licence at www.ilb.bis.gov.uk. You need to register on the system before you can use it, see How Do I Register for Import Licences?.