EU tightens Iran Sanctions with embargo on Iranian oil and petrochemicals plus new sanctions on precious metals, diamonds and key equipment & technology for the petrochemical sector

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I. Introduction

On 23 January 2012, the Council of the European Union (EU) adopted further measures to tighten existing EU sanctions against Iran by introducing an embargo on the imports/purchase/transport of Iranian crude oil, petroleum and petrochemical products (and related financing, financial assistance, insurance); prohibiting the sale, supply and transfer of key equipment and technology for the petrochemical industry in Iran; prohibiting or restricting certain technical and financial assistance and investment and joint ventures in the petrochemical sector; prohibiting the sale, purchase, transportation or brokering of gold, precious metals and diamonds to Iranian parties linked to the Government; expanding the list of dual-use items whose supply, sale or transfer is prohibited; prohibiting the delivery of new or unissued Iranian denominated banknotes and coins to the Central Bank of Iran, and adding further parties to the asset freeze list (including the Central Bank of Iran and Bank Tejarat).

The new sanctions are laid down in Council Decision 2012/35/CFSP (‘The Council Decision’),2 Council Implementing Regulation 54/20123 and Council Regulation 56/2012.4 Certain transitional provisions apply for contracts concluded before certain dates. In addition, deadlines are included for the review of some of the new measures to ensure sufficient energy supply to the EU. Some of the new sanctions must be implemented by further Regulations which will set out the detailed provisions for applying the sanctions and will specify the precise types of crude oil, petroleum and petrochemical equipment and technology covered by the new sanctions.

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