On our web site, you will find information about doing business with Iran, the role of The British Iranian Chamber of Commerce, our counterpart in Tehran, as well as details about services and membership.
On May 8th Donald Trump announced the US was withdrawing from the Nuclear Agreement with Iran (the JCPOA) and subsequently, the US Secretary of State announced the US would be implementing the strongest ever sanctions against business with Iran including re-imposing the sanctions that had previously been suspended.
American action is highly regrettable. Companies that have pursued legal business with Iran have done so in good faith based on the commitments contained in the JCPOA and endorsed by UN Security Council Resolution. A recent meeting of the Joint Commission of the JCPOA reaffirmed the intention of the E3 plus China and Russia to maintain and deepen economic relations with Iran. The E.U, particularly Germany, France and the UK have all expressed strong opposition to American policy.
In the Chamber, we are actively making our views and those of our members known to the Government. For that reason, we are keen also to hear from our members how they feel they will be affected by US sanctions and what actions they would like the Government to take. I and the Chamber have had meetings with both UK businesses and Government Ministers.
We understand the Government in coordination with the EU is intending to take the following steps:-
1) To take legislative action to block US sanctions so as to protect UK businesses doing legal trade with Iran from judicial actions by the US authorities. This will involve updating existing legislation blocking US sanctions on countries like Cuba. It will make it illegal for firms to cooperate with US judicial authorities in respect of sanctions to do with Iran.
While the government can put in place legislation to protect British companies trading with Iran from US fines, it cannot oblige the US and US companies to trade with a British company that is trading with Iran. So, companies trading with both countries will need to assess the relative importance to them of trade with the US and trade with Iran.
2) To persuade the OFAC (the Office of Foreign Assets Control) to give specific exemptions to certain existing strategic business links with Iran. We as a Chamber, have highlighted the fact that humanitarian goods like pharmaceuticals have not always enjoyed the exemptions under the previous American sanctions, and sometimes even US firms seem to have had an advantage.
We continue to press the Government to facilitate banking facilities for Iranian transactions, legal under UK law. In recent years, even while trade has been legal, banking facilities have been limited because of the fear of the existing US sanctions. with no dollar dealings or contact with the US have been willing to do business. Inthe new situation it must be even more important to find a solution to the banking issue. It may be that there will be a role for state-owned banks or SPVs (Special Purpose Vehicles). There has been the talk of the EU using the European Investment Bank (EIB) whose shareholders are the Governments of the EU.
Iran has been considering its response and is talking to the EU about what can be done.
We will continue to keep in close contact with the Government and to represent the views of our members. Please don't hesitate to be in touch with us about any particular problem you may have for which we could help, but also with any views, you may have about how the Government might deal with this issue.
Lord Lamont of Lerwick - May 2018
BICC in conjunction with the Government of Iran and the UK's Department for International Trade held a successful conference on the Healthcare sector in Iran. The conference was well attended by both British and Iranian speakers and delegates from both the Public and Private sectors. UK Health Minister Stephen Brine delivered the Keynote opening address. For a summary of the event , please click here for more
We welcome the recognition of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) that Iran has a high level of political commitment to addressing AML/CFT issues, and in seeking technical assistance in the implementation of the Action Plan and the consequent FATF decision to suspend counter measures. Click here to see FATF’s statement
BICC requires all Members, as a term of Membership, to observe applicable UN, EU and UK sanctions and recommends that they take account of US and other sanctions law where it might affect them directly or indirectly.
BICC is able to provide understanding of the sanctions and help in compliance.
For a comprehensive view on this subject, please go to our trade restrictions page.