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Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (“JCPOA”)

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President Hassan Rouhani has announced that Iran will withdraw from certain commitments agreed in the 2015 nuclear agreement; this announcement comes a year after the agreement was abandoned by the US, leading to the re-imposition of US sanctions against Iran. In today’s announcement, Hassan Rouhani declared that Iran will stop exporting its surplus enriched uranium. This decision is contrary to the agreement, under which Iran is required to sell its surplus enriched uranium abroad to…

US trade sanctions and export controls targeting Iran have attracted increasing attention from Chinese companies doing business in Iran or with Iran counterparties. This client alert aims to provide a high-level overview on US trade sanctions and export controls targeting Iran, their implications (particularly in terms of their extraterritorial application), and the potential penalties that can be imposed on companies and their executives and employees in the event of violations.

On November 5, 2018, the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) took several actions to finalize the re-imposition of sanctions against Iran in response to President Trump’s May 8, 2018 decision to cease the United States’ participation in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (“JCPOA”). See our previous blog posts here regarding the President’s May 8, 2018 decision to cease the United States’ participation in the JCPOA and here regarding Executive Order (“EO”) 13846, issued on August 6, 2018, which consolidated and reissued several sanctions provisions that had been suspended or revoked while the JCPOA was in effect.

On October 16, 2018, the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) designated certain Iranian entities and banks as Specially Designated Nationals (“SDNs”) pursuant to Executive Order (“EO”) 13224, which targets terrorists and those providing support to terrorism. A full list of those entities designated as part of this action is available here.  US Persons (i.e., entities organized under US laws and their non-US branches; parties physically located in the United States; US citizens and permanent resident aliens wherever located or employed) are prohibited from dealing directly or indirectly with SDNs.  Under the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (“ITSR”), non-US entities owned or controlled by US Persons are also prohibited from dealing with SDNs that are located or based in Iran (regardless of their reason for designation) or owned or controlled by the Government of Iran (regardless of where they are located).