Factbox: Sanctions imposed on Iran

(Reuters) - International sanctions meant to deprive Iran’s nuclear program of funds and technology are squeezing the country’s vital oil exports. Talks between Iran and major powers that could lead to an easing of sanctions if successful are taking place in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Following are details of major sanctions imposed on Iran by the United States, the European Union, and the United Nations over the years.


– Initial sanctions were imposed after Iranian students stormed the U.S. embassy and took diplomats hostage in 1979.

– Under a U.S. trade embargo dating back to then, Iranian products cannot be imported into the United States, except for small gifts, information material, food and some carpets.

– In 1995, President Bill Clinton issued executive orders preventing U.S. companies from investing in Iranian oil and gas and trading with Iran. The same year, Congress passed a law imposing sanctions on foreign companies investing more than $20 million a year in Iran’s energy sector.

– Under current sanctions, Americans are prohibited from trading directly or indirectly with Iran’s oil sector, the Iranian government and individuals connected to the oil sector or in any financing of it. U.S. companies are also barred from investing in Iran’s oil and gas industries or trading with them.

– U.S. sanctions can also target foreign firms or people that do business with Iran’s energy sector, with some exceptions for countries that are reducing their Iranian oil imports.

– U.S. sanctions can also target financial institutions that engage in transactions with a host of Iranian companies and government agencies, including Iran’s central bank, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the National Iranian Oil Co. and its subsidiary Naftiran Intertrade Co.

– Companies or individuals found to breach the sanctions face significant fines, asset freezes, the risk of being cut off from the U.S. dollar banking system or potentially even be blacklisted themselves.

– Other U.S. sanctions prohibit Americans from dealing with a range of Iranian industries, including precious metals, shipping and port operations

– Some of the sanctions are tied to Iran’s nuclear activities, while others focus on what Washington deems to be human rights abuses, support for terrorism or interference in Iraq or Syria.

(Sources: Reuters reporting and Congressional Research Service)


The 28-nation European Union has gradually introduced tighter sanctions against Iran since 2007 in response to concerns about Iran’s nuclear activities. They include:

– An export and import ban on arms.

– An export and import ban on goods and technology related to nuclear enrichment or nuclear weapon systems.

– An export ban on materials relevant to the Iranian nuclear, military and ballistic missile programs or to industries controlled by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.

– A ban on investment by Iranian nationals and companies in uranium mining and production of nuclear material and technology within the EU.

– A ban on imports of crude oil, petroleum products and natural gas from Iran as well as related finance and insurance. No oil or petrochemical tankers may be supplied to Iran (measures dealing with insurance and transport of Iranian crude oil suspended under interim nuclear deal between six powers and Iran).

– A ban on imports of petrochemical products from Iran (suspended under interim deal).

– An export and import ban on goods and technology that have both military and civilian uses.

– An export ban on key equipment and technology for the oil, gas and petrochemical industries in Iran.

– A ban on investment in the Iranian oil, gas and petrochemical industries.

- No new commitments by EU member states for financial support for trade with Iran.

– EU member states barred from giving new grants or concessional loans to the government of Iran. Ban on providing insurance to the Iranian government and Iranian companies (except health and travel insurance).

– Trade in gold, precious metals and diamonds with Iranian public bodies and the central bank is prohibited (measure suspended for gold and precious metals under the interim deal).

– No delivery of Iranian denominated banknotes and coins to the Iranian central bank.

– A ban on financial transfers with Iranian banks, unless specifically authorized in advance. Payments may be authorized in certain cases such as for food and healthcare. (New authorization thresholds apply under the interim deal).

– A ban on Iranian banks opening branches or creating joint ventures in the EU. EU financial institutions may not open branches or bank accounts in Iran, either.

– A ban on the issuance of and trade in Iranian government or public bonds with the Iranian government, central bank and Iranian banks.

– Cargo flights operated by Iranian carriers or coming from Iran may not have access to EU airports.

– No flagging or classification services may be supplied to Iranian oil tankers or cargo vessels.

– A ban on supplying key naval equipment for shipbuilding and maintenance to Iran.

– Visa bans on people designated by the U.N. or associated with Iran’s nuclear activities or the development of nuclear weapon delivery systems.

– An asset freeze on entities associated with Iran’s nuclear activities or the development of nuclear weapon delivery systems.

(Source: Adapted from EU factsheet)


– The Security Council has imposed four sets of sanctions on Iran, in December 2006, March 2007, March 2008 and June 2010.

– The first covered sensitive nuclear materials and froze the assets of Iranian individuals and companies linked with the nuclear program.

– The second included new arms and financial sanctions.

– The third, in 2008, increased travel and financial curbs on individuals and companies. It expanded a partial ban on trade in items with both civilian and military uses to cover sales of all such technology to Iran.

– A Security Council resolution passed on June 9, 2010, called for measures against new Iranian banks abroad if a connection to the nuclear or missile programs was suspected. It expanded a U.N. arms embargo against Tehran and called for the setting up of a cargo inspection regime.

– There are currently 43 individuals and 78 entities and groups on the U.N. blacklist and subjected to a global travel ban and asset freeze.

Reporting by Anna Yukhananov and Paul Grant in Washington, Adrian Croft in Brussels and Michelle Nichols in New York; Editing by Frances Kerry