UK sharpens sanctions Iran

25 November 2009

Martine Chin-Oldenziel

At international as well as on EU-level sanctions have been imposed targeted against Iran. At EU-level these sanctions are laid down in Council Common Position 2007/140/CFSP as amended and in Council Regulation (EC) 423/2207 which has been amended by several Council and Commission Regulations.

The sanctions cover goods and technology, technical assistance, investment and brokering services which could contribute to Iran’s enrichment-related, reprocessing or heavy water-related activities or to the development of nuclear weapon delivery system. The sanctions also include freezing of funds and economic resources or persons, entities and bodies engaged in, directly associated with or providing support for such activities or development. One of the entities listed is Bank Mellat.

In addition the EU sanctions include certain measures to be applied by EU credit and financial institutions to exercise vigilance over their activities with banks domiciled in Iran and their subsidiaries, branches or other financial entities outside Iran.

Finally, the EU sanctions cover inspection and prior information requirement of certain cargoes to and from Iran, namely aircraft and vessels owned or operated by Iran Air Cargo and the Islamic Republic of Shipping Lines (“IRISL”). Until 31 December 2010 the entry and exit summary declarations and the required additional elements as provided in the Council Regulation (EC) 423/2007 as amended may be submitted in written form using the commercial, port or transport information provided that they contain the necessary particulars. As from 1 January 2011 the required additional elements have to be submitted either in written form or using the entry and exit summary declarations.

The UK adopted on 9 October 2009 the Financial Restriction (Iran) Order 2009. This order entered into force on 12 October 2009. This order prohibits to all persons operating in the financial in the UK to enter into or to continue to participate in any transaction or business relationship with Bank Mellat or the IRISL.  The HM Treasury may, however grant licenses to exempt persons operating in the UK financial sector from this prohibition.

The Department for Business Innovation & Skills (“BIS”) has also included Bank Mellat and IRISL on the “Iran List”. This list indicates entities that may give cause for concern whatever their involvement in an export transaction may be.  This includes end-users, consignees and third parties.  The fact that an entity has been listed does not automatically mean that an export license will not be granted. IRISL has been added to the Iran List on 16 October 2009 due to the adoption of the Financial Restriction (Iran) Order 2009. Bank Mellat was already listed.