APPENDIX D: Sanctions on Iran

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Iran has been subjected to fairly comprehensive U.S. sanctions since the early 1980s for a variety of reasons, including the regime’s support for terrorism, human rights violations, and proliferation concerns.

Additionally, since the UN Security Council took up the Iran nuclear file in 2006, Iran has been subjected to increasingly rigorous multilateral sanctions aimed at encouraging compliance with its nuclear nonproliferation obligations and addressing international concerns about the nature of its nuclear program. These sanctions focus on preventing Iran from acquiring the technologies and materials needed for its nuclear and missile programs by requiring all countries to restrict sensitive exports to Iran. The sanctions geared toward slowing Iran’s nuclear and missile programs appear to be increasingly effective as additional countries strengthen controls over exporting sensitive goods to Iran. But they have not prevented Iran from improving its domestic capabilities nor led Iran’s leadership to abandon the pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability.

U.S.-led sanctions have increasingly targeted the Iranian energy sector, the most critical part of its economy, to impose economic pressure on Iran in the hopes of influencing the decision-making of Iran’s leadership. More recently, the Iranian banking sector has been targeted by sanctions designed to isolate it from the global financial system by both the United States and the European Union.

Sanctions should remain an important component of efforts to demonstrate to Iran that it has nothing to gain and much to lose from its current nuclear ambitions, but sanctions will not be enough to end any nuclear aspirations.

UN Security Council Sanctions:

The UN Security Council first resorted to employing sanctions in 2006 when Iran refused to comply with a binding resolution that required, among other measures, that Iran suspend all uranium-enrichment and heavy-water-related activity. Three other resolutions tightening sanctions followed, with a June 2010 resolution introducing some of the most sweeping measures against Iran to date. Taken together, sanctions introduced under these resolutions prohibit Iran’s access to proliferation-sensitive items, technical assistance, and technology. The resolutions also target designated Iranian entities and persons involved in the nuclear and ballistic missile activities that are barred by the resolutions.

Resolution Key Proliferation-Related Provisions
1737 (2006)
  • Prevent the supply of all items which could contribute to Iran’s enrichment-related, reprocessing, or heavy water-related activities, or to the development of weapon delivery systems;
  • Iran may not export any items or technology related to nuclear programs or ballistic missile programs;
  • Iran should not receive financial services related to the supply or use of prohibited materials or technology;
  • States should freeze economic assets owned or controlled by people associated with supporting Iran’s nuclear activities or weapon delivery systems.
1747 (2007)
  • Iran should not receive grants, financial services, or loans except for humanitarian reasons;
1803 (2008)
  • States should inspect the cargoes and from Iran of any Iranian owned or operated companies, provided there is reason to suspect the cargo may contain prohibited materials;
  • States should monitor the activities of Iranian financial institutions operating in their territories to prevent any activities that may contribute to the proliferation sensitive nuclear activities;
  • Individuals who are associated with Iran’s proliferation sensitive nuclear activities or nuclear weapon delivery systems should not be allowed to enter the states.
1929 (2010)
  • States should seize and dispose of any items being supplied or transferred to Iran which could contribute to Iran’s nuclear program;
  • ran should not acquire interest in uranium mining, production, or use of nuclear materials and technology;
  • All states should prohibit Iranian investment in uranium mining and production in their territory;
  • States should inspect all cargo to and from Iran if the state has reasonable reason to believe the cargo is related to Iran’s pursuit of nuclear technology. States should refuse to fuel or supply ships for the same reason;
  • Iran should not receive financial services related to the supply or use of prohibited materials or technology;
  • States should not allow new branches or representative offices of Iranian banks in their territory if there is reason to believe they may be connected to proliferation-sensitive activities.

European Union Sanctions

Council Document
Proliferation-Related Sanctions
Council Regulation 423 (2007)
  • Freezes the assets of individuals and entities related to Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs;
  • Prohibits the transfer of dual-use goods that could be used for Iran’s nuclear program;
Council Regulation 961 (2010)
  • Bans investments, sales, and supply of equipement and technology to Iran’s energy sector;
  • Requires members states to inspect suspicious cargo going to and from Iran.
Council Regulation 267 (2012)
  • Bans member states from importing oil or purchasing petrochemical products from Iran;
  • Bans insurance on shipments of Iranian oil;
  • Freezes assets connected to the Central Bank of Iran;
  • Prohibits trade using precious metals with Iran.

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