On 24 November 2013, the P5+1 countries (comprising the United States, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, France and Germany) together with Iran, agreed the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA), which relaxed some of the sanctions imposed against Iran by the EU and U.S. The JPOA was intended to provide interim sanctions relief, while the parties worked towards a more comprehensive and long-term solution.

On 14 July 2015, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was agreed.

The EU and U.S. have agreed to lift the majority of nuclear-related sanctions against Iran, provided Iran implements certain agreed measures in respect of its nuclear programme. If certain goals are reached, the UN arms embargo could be removed in five years, and the restrictions on ballistic missile technology could be lifted in eight years. The implementation of such measures by Iran must be verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

All sanctions remain in place for the time being. However, a plan has been agreed which may lead to an eventual lifting of certain sanctions.

In the meantime, the EU has published Council Decision (CFSP) 2015/1148, which extends the limited sanctions relief put in place by the JPOA until 14 January 2016. This is to allow time for the necessary arrangements and preparations for the implementation of the JCPOA. Relevant contracts which fall within the JPOA relaxation must be executed within that date. For further details on the JPOA limited sanctions relief, see our previous alert of 23 January 2014.

We will be publishing more detailed comments on and analysis of the JCPOA shortly.