US reimposes Iran sanctions; EU reactivates Blocking Regulation

August, 2018

Sanctions and Blocking Regulation follow the US withdrawal from the JCPOA.

US reimposes Iran sanctions; EU reactivates Blocking Regulation

The US has re-imposed certain sanctions on Iran lifted under the 2016 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (‘JCPOA’). President Trump issued an executive order re-imposing these sanctions from 7 August following the expiry of the first 90-day ‘wind-down’ period after his 8 May announcement that the US was pulling out of the nuclear deal. Other sanctions will be re-imposed following the expiry of the second 180-day ‘wind-down’ period on 4 November.

Sanctions re-imposed from 7 August include those concerning:

  • The purchase or acquisition of US dollar banknotes by the Iranian government;
  • Iran’s trade in gold or precious metals;
  • The sale, supply or transfer (whether direct or indirect) to or from Iran of materials such as graphite, raw or semi-finished metals, including aluminium and steel, coal and software, or integrating industrial processes;
  • ‘significant’ transactions involving the purchase or sale of Iranian rials, or maintenance of ‘significant’ funds or accounts outside Iran denominated in rials;
  • The purchase, subscription to or facilitation of the issuance of Iranian sovereign debt;
  • Iran’s automotive sector.


Other ‘wind-down’ authorisations previously issued by OFAC concerning the importation of carpets or food from Iran, as well as certain licences for the export or re-export of commercial passenger aircraft, parts and services, also expired on 7 August.

Sanctions re-imposed from 5 November include those concerning:

  • Iranian port operators and energy, shipping, and shipbuilding sectors;
  • Transactions involving petroleum or petroleum products;
  • Transactions by foreign financial institutions with the Central Bank of Iran.

OFAC has issued FAQs on the Iran sanctions. These include guidance on when payments from Iranian parties can be received after the wind-down periods.


The EU response

The EU has responded by bringing its updated Blocking Regulation into force (7 August). This means that no judgment or requirements from an authority outside the EU concerning the re-imposition of US sanctions on Iran will be recognised, and EU persons should not comply with any requirements or prohibitions unless that would seriously damage their interests or those of the European Union. Damages caused by the US sanctions, including legal costs, can be ‘clawed back’ by the affected party.

The EU has issued a guidance note to assist commercial operators with the adoption of the update to the Blocking Regulation.


Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2018/1100 can be found here:

For the Guidance Note on the Blocking Regulation see:

For the Executive Order see:

For OFAC’s FAQs see:

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