JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) is an international agreement on the nuclear program of Iran reached in 2015, between Iran, the EU, and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council  - China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States - plus Germany).

From early 2016, the JCPOA actually eased sanctions against Iran which then saw increased oil exports and new foreign investment. However, the US President's announcement on 8 May 2018 to withdraw the US from participation in the JCPOA and to re-impose US nuclear-related sanctions triggered global discussions about implications on international shipping trade.

As of 6 August, sanctions have been imposed against the following:

  • The purchase or acquisition of US dollar banknotes by the Government of Iran;
  • Iran’s trade in gold or precious metals;
  • The direct or indirect sale, supply, or transfer to or from Iran of graphite, raw, or semi-finished metals such as aluminium and steel, coal, and software for integrating industrial processes;
  • Significant transactions related to the purchase or sale of Iranian rials, or the maintenance of significant funds or accounts outside the territory of Iran denominated in the Iranian rial;
  • The purchase, subscription to, or facilitation of the issuance of Iranian sovereign debt, and
  • Transactions with Iran’s automotive sector.

However, the carriage to or from Iran of graphite, raw, or semi-finished metals such as aluminium and steel, coal, and software for integrating industrial processes is permissible if:

  • the cargo is not subject of a medium for barter, swap, or any other exchange or transaction.
  • it is not listed as an asset of the Government for purposes of the national balance sheet.
  • the cargo is not to be used in connection with the energy, shipping, or shipbuilding sectors of Iran or any sector of the Iranian economy determined to be controlled directly or indirectly by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps; or if the material is resold, retransferred, or otherwise supplied to an end-user in one of these sectors.
  • the cargo is not sold, supplied or transferred to or from a person/entity on the SDN list, or resold, retransferred, or otherwise supplied to such a person.
  • the cargo is not determined to be used in connection with the nuclear, military or ballistic missile programs of Iran, or resold, retransferred or otherwise supplied for one of these programs.

The previously announced wind-down period running until November 4 for certain categories of otherwise sanctionable activities remains in effect. This includes all petroleum-related transactions and activities involving Iran’s oil and energy sectors.

Members are reminded that all such activity must however be carried out pursuant to a contract dated prior to 8 May 2016 and they should not enter into “new business”, i.e. pursuant to a contract after that date. To do so may expose them to US secondary sanctions,

the West of England P&I Club has advised.