On July 14, 2015, Iran and the “P5+1” countries (the United States, the United Kingdom, France, China, Russia, and Germany) reached a potentially historic accord that could usher in a wave of sanctions relief in exchange for nuclear concessions. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) provides for far-reaching relaxation of US and EU “nuclear-related” sanctions in the event that the International Atomic Energy Agency verifies Iran’s compliance with its first round of commitments under the deal, which could take several months.
US sanctions relief mostly will be directed at non-US persons, and will include a dismantling of much of its “secondary” sanctions regime targeting the Iranian energy, financial, shipping, shipbuilding, and automotive sectors. EU sanctions relief similarly will relax restrictions (applicable to EU persons) in these areas, and over a period of years could result in a lifting of nearly all EU trade restrictions on Iran. However, while sanctions relief under the JCPOA figures to be extensive, significant hurdles and complexities remain.