Guidance

Trade sanctions on Iran

Iran is subject to an arms embargo, transit control and other restrictions.

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In recent years several economic and financial sanctions measures have been lifted against Iran, but you should be aware there are still restrictive measures in place. United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2231 (2015) rolled back many prohibitions imposed in UNSCR 1929 (2010) and implemented the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) enabling Iran to pursue an exclusively peaceful nuclear programme.

On 8 May 2018 the President of the United States confirmed that the US will begin the process of re-imposing all their sanctions previously waived under the JCPOA. Read more about this development.

EU restrictive measures regarding weapons of mass destruction are included in EU Council Decision 2010/413/CFSP and Council Regulation (EU) No 267/2012.

Arms embargo

It is prohibited to export, sell, supply or transfer military goods and technology to Iran, or to other destinations where they are ultimately for use in Iran or for the benefit of Iran. You should also be aware there are prohibitions if you are providing related technical assistance, financing and financial assistance, and brokering services. It is also prohibited to procure these items from Iran, whether or not they originate in Iran.

This includes items that could contribute to reprocessing, enrichment-related or heavy water-related activities

A prior authorisation is required for the sale, supply, transfer or export of items listed in Annexes I, II and III of Council Regulation (EU) No 267/2012 to an ‘Iranian person’ (as defined in Article 1 of the Regulation), or to another person or destination where the items are ultimately for use in Iran. You should also be aware there are prohibitions if you are providing related technical assistance, financing and financial assistance, and brokering services.

A prior authorisation is also required to purchase, import or transport these items from Iran, whether or not they originate in Iran.

Enterprise Resource Planning software

A prior authorisation is required to sell, supply or transfer or export software for integrating industrial processes relevant to Iran’s nuclear, military and ballistic missile programme to an ‘Iranian person’, or to another person or destination where the items are ultimately for use in Iran. You should also be aware there are prohibitions if you are providing related technical assistance, financing and financial assistance, and brokering services.

Graphite and raw or semi-finished metals

A prior authorisation is required to sell, supply or transfer or export graphite and raw or semi-finished materials such as aluminium and steel to an ‘Iranian person’, or to another person or destination where the items are ultimately for use in Iran. You should also be aware there are prohibitions if you are providing related technical assistance, financing and financial assistance, and brokering services.

Sanctions on commercial activities

There is a prohibition on entering into a relationship with an ‘Iranian person’ that would enable them to participate in activities involving:

There is a prohibition on commercial involvement with Iranian entities engaged in the manufacture of military goods and technology.

Exceptions

Exceptions and licences may be available regarding the above measures. These are set out in Council Decision 2010/413/CFSP and Council Regulation (EU) No 267/2012.

EU restrictive measures regarding Human Rights

These measures are included in Council Decision 2011/235/CFSP and Council Regulation (EU) No 359/2011.

Equipment which might be used for internal repression

It is prohibited to export, sell, supply or transfer goods and technology which might be used for internal repression to Iran, or to other destinations where they are ultimately for use in Iran. You should also be aware there are prohibitions if you are providing related technical assistance, as well as financing and financial assistance.

Equipment which might be used for monitoring and interception

It is prohibited to export, sell, supply or transfer goods and technology intended primarily for use in the monitoring or interception of internet or telephone communications to Iran, or to other destinations where they are ultimately for use in Iran. You should also be aware there are prohibitions if you are providing related technical assistance, financing and financial assistance, and brokering services. It is also prohibited to provide telecommunication or internet monitoring services to or for the benefit of Iran’s government.

Exceptions

Exceptions and licences may be available regarding the above measures. These are set out in Council Decision 2011/235/CFSP and Council Regulation (EU) No 359/2011.

UK restrictive measure regarding control on the export or transfer of aircraft and vessels

Authorisations are required for the export or transfer of aircraft and vessels, and related equipment and components, to Iran.

Transit control

Military items transiting the UK are still regarded as being exported when they leave the country and are therefore subject to control. Article 17 of the Export Control Order 2008 includes a transit and transhipment exception meaning that in many situations a licence is not required. This exception does not apply to goods destined for Iran, meaning that a licence is required to transit goods through the UK or to tranship them in the UK with a view to re-exportation to Iran.

Import restrictions

Contact the Import Licensing Branch for guidance on import licensing.

Financial sanctions

For information on any relevant financial sanctions, contact the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation.

Apply for an export licence through the online export licensing system managed by the Export Control Joint Unit (ECJU).

ECJU contact details

Helpline

Contact the helpline for general queries about strategic export licensing.

Export Control Joint Unit
2nd floor 
3 Whitehall Place
London
SW1A 2AW

Email: exportcontrol.help@trade.gov.uk

Telephone: 020 7215 4594

Notices to exporters

Notices to exporters from the ECJU contain important information about:

  • amendments to open general export licences
  • changes to the list of controlled goods
  • updates on legislation and sanctions

Sign up to receive email alerts to notices to exporters.

Published 11 September 2012
Last updated 21 March 2019 + show all updates
  1. Text corrected and updated with particular reference to EU exit.
  2. Link added to more information on the announcement by the President of the United States that the US will begin the process of re-imposing all US sanctions previously waived under the JCPoA.
  3. Updated to include links to guidance and information from the EU and US Treasury
  4. Updated following implementation of the nuclear deal.
  5. Updated with latest information.
  6. Updated
  7. Updated to add details of the agreement.
  8. Updated to add information regarding comprehensive agreement on Iran’s nuclear programme.
  9. Information added on current negotiations on Iran’s nuclear programme.
  10. Latest report on progress on negotiations with Iran added.
  11. Includes news on the agreement to extend the Joint Plan of Action.
  12. Added information on recent changes to EU sanctions on Iran.
  13. Included links to financial sanctions content on GOV.UK
  14. First published.