The UK government does not encourage trade with, or investment in Iran, and has withdrawn all commercial support for trade.

EU sanctions and restrictions are in place for trading with Iran. The UK government does not encourage trade with, or investment in, Iran and has withdrawn all commercial support for trade. If you decide to trade with Iran, you do so at your own risk.

Negotiations on Iran’s nuclear programme are due to conclude on 30 June 2015. If a comprehensive deal is agreed by this date, and Iran takes all the agreed actions on its nuclear programme, then they will receive phased sanctions relief. However, for the moment all EU sanctions and restrictions remain in place and in force. We will update this page when the situation changes. Find out more about the negotiations.

Prohibited activities

Sanctions imposed in view of Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes are set out in full in Council Regulation (EU) 267/2012.

In summary the following activities are prohibited:

  • the sale, supply, transfer or export of the following goods, software and technology:
    • military goods of all kinds
    • dual-use items as listed in Annexes I and II of the Regulation
    • key equipment and technology for the oil and gas industry as listed in Annexes VI and VIA of the Regulation
    • key naval equipment as listed in Annex VIB of the Regulation
    • software for integrating industrial processes as listed in Annex VIIA
    • graphite and raw and semi-finished metals as listed in Annex VIIB
    • newly minted banknotes and coins
  • the provision of technical assistance, brokering services and financial assistance related to the above
  • the import, purchase or transport from Iran of military goods of all kinds, and of dual-use items listed in Annexes I and II of the Regulation
  • the import or purchase of crude oil or petroleum products which are located in or which originated in Iran; and the provision of related financial assistance including insurance and re-insurance
  • the purchase, transport or import of natural gas which is located in Iran or which has been exported from Iran, and the provision of related financial assistance or brokering services
  • the granting of any loan or financial credit to, the acquisition or extension of a participation in, or the creation of a joint venture with, any Iranian entity or person engaged in:
    • the manufacture of military goods or dual-use items listed in Annex I or II of the Regulation
    • the exploration or production of crude oil and natural gas, the refining of fuels or the liquefaction of natural gas
    • the petrochemical industry
    • uranium mining, uranium enrichment and reprocessing of uranium

Sanctions imposed in view of the human rights situation in Iran are set out in Council Regulation (EU) 264/2012.

The following is prohibited:

  • the sale, supply, transfer or export of equipment which might be used for internal repression as listed in Annex III of Council Regulation (EU) 264/2012
  • the provision of technical assistance, brokering services and financial assistance related to the above

Activities that require a licence

Council Regulation (EU) 267/2012 states that the following activities require a licence:

  • the sale, supply, transfer or export of dual-use items as listed in Annex III of the Regulation
  • the provision of technical assistance, brokering services and financial assistance related to items listed in Annex III of the Regulation
  • the making of an investment in an Iranian entity engaged in the manufacture of items listed in Annex III of the Regulation

Note that current UK policy is that we will only grant licences for items listed in Annex III in exceptional circumstances.

Sanctions imposed in view of the human rights situation in Iran are set out in Council Regulation (EU) 264/2012. The following requires a licence:

  • the sale, supply, transfer or export of equipment which might be used for the monitoring or interception of internet or telephone communications as listed in Annex IV of the Regulation
  • the provision of technical assistance, brokering services and financial assistance related to items listed in Annex IV of the Regulation
  • the provision of telecommunication or internet monitoring or interception services of any kind to, or for the direct or indirect benefit of, Iran’s government, public bodies, corporations and agencies or any person or entity acting on their behalf or at their direction

Financial sanctions may still be relevant to your transaction, including the authorisation and notification requirements. It is your responsibility to ensure you comply with financial sanctions. For more information see the HM Treasury guidance relating to nuclear proliferation and human rights violations.

End-use controls

If your items are not listed specifically as a result of specific sanctions regulations, you may still need a licence under so-called ‘end-use controls’. This aspect of export controls covers licensing of items that might potentially be used in a Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) programme or military goods.

These controls are outlined in Article 4 of Council Regulation 428/2009 (the EU Dual-Use Regulation) and in the Export Control Order 2008.

For more information on end-use controls, see the guide on WMD End-Use Control and Military End-Use Control.

The Iran List provides a listing of organisations in Iran of potential concern.

If you have any concerns about exporting to an end-user in Iran, you should consider seeking advice from the ECO End-User Advice Service.

Apply for an export licence to Iran

Many of the restrictions against Iran are prohibitions. That means that there is a complete ban on supply to Iran. Licences will not normally be issued where there is a prohibition in place.

Exporters can apply for an export licence for their goods or for other transactions subject to control.

The government will consider all applications on a case-by-case basis in line with the provisions of the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria.

Read the guide on Assessment of export licence applications: criteria and policy.

Current negotiations

The E3+3 (UK, France, Germany, Russia, China and US) and Iran are engaged in intensive negotiations to reach a comprehensive agreement on Iran’s nuclear programme. This was made possible by the agreement in November 2013 of a Joint Plan of Action. Under this agreement Iran and the E3+3 committed to a number of measures in order to create the time and space for a comprehensive negotiation.

On 2 April 2015, the E3+3 and Iran agreed the main parameters of a comprehensive deal on Iran’s nuclear programme. Diplomats and technical experts from all sides will continue negotiations to finalise the detail within these agreed parameters by 30 June 2015.

If a comprehensive deal is agreed by 30 June, and Iran takes all the agreed actions on its nuclear programme - verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency – then Iran will receive phased sanctions relief, including comprehensive economic and financial sanctions relief.

More information

BIS ECO Helpline

For general export control queries please contact the ECO Helpline on 020 7215 4594 or email: eco.help@bis.gsi.gov.uk