Trade Sanctions in Iran . Trading with Iran explained

A new era has begun for Iran.s economy. Following the JCPoA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) in January 2016, Iran now has the opportunity to reconnect with the global economy that it has been isolated from since the latest international sanctions were imposed in 2012.

This date has triggered the staggered process of lifting the UN, EU ( and therefore UK) sanctions on Iran. However , some uncertainty remains regarding the US position following President Trump.s decision not to re-certify the JCPOA. Commercial entities in the UK are watching this position very closely, but many are continuing to trade with Iran despite those developments.

Timeframe of the sanctions

2012 . An expansion of international sanctions upon Iran from the EU, UN and the US prevented businesses and entities entering into most kinds of business with Iran.

2014 . Negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 (China, France, Russian, the UK, the US and Germany) led to an agreement on the JCPoA, which would lead to sanction relief should the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) verify that Iran was compliant to its nuclear-related commitments and responsibilities.

July 2015 . in July, Iran and the P5+1 sign the JCPoA, in which Iran agreed to restrict its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

January 2016 . Implementation day, this date signifies the beginning of the staggered process of removing the UN, US and EU sanctions on Iran.

2024 . By this date, all the sanctions, including the US sanctions should be removed in entirety.

What.s new under the JCPoA?

The JCPoA has given Iran the opportunity to re-enter the international marketplace and recommence trade with European counties and some US entities, in exchange for limiting its nuclear program considerably. This should increase foreign investment in Iran, increase trade and help reenergise and grow their economy. Iran now has access to most its frozen funds, although these funds are mainly kept in Central Bank of Iran's accounts outside Iran, giving Iran access to an estimated $29 billion.

All EU nuclear related sanctions were lifted on Implementation Day as the EU terminated the provisions of the Council Regulation (EU) No 267/2012 and suspended the corresponding provisions of Council Decision 2010/413/CFSP. This includes:

  • The removal of sanctions against, but not limited to, the following sectors:
  • The energy sector, including oil, gas and petrochemical industries
  • The transport sector, including shipping
  • The mining sector, including gold and precious metals
  • The coinage and banknotes market
  • The insurance sector
  • The automotive sector
  • The tourism sector
  • The technology sector
  • The finance sector
  • The reinstatement of SWIFT services, allowing Iran to use the global banking system
  • The delisting of most Iranian persons and entities


Potential investors should note that some international sanctions and restrictions such as the US Primary Sanctions remain in place, and are not affected by the Nuclear Deal. Therefore, businesses looking to trade or invest in Iran should seek advice to ensure that their business complies with these measures.

Iran is a complicated and sophisticated business market which necessitates a long-term commitment to exploring the market, and understanding every entity involved with your business in Iran, be it banks, clients, middle men etc. Businesses are advised to safeguard their capital and rights by operating under the provisions of FIPPA (Iran.s Investment, Promotion and Protection Act 2002).

British and European companies are showing great interest in re-entering the Iranian economy following the implementation of the JCPoA. British companies have the potential to do very well, especially if they provide training and create jobs in Iran. The opportunities are huge and long term for British companies who are willing to put in the initial preparation to set up a strong strategy for success in the Iranian market.