The UK government has published the Export Control (Iran Sanctions) Order 2016 (the "2016 Sanctions Order"), which will come into force on 6 May 2016, replacing the Export Control (Iran Sanctions) Order 2012 (S.I. 2012/1243) (the “2012 Sanctions Order”).

This follows the recent implementation of the Iran (Sanctions) (Overseas Territories) Order 2016 (the "2016 Overseas Territories Order"), which came into force on 17 March 2016; the Iran (United Nations Sanctions) (Amendment) Order 2016 (SI 2016/378) (the "UN Sanctions Amendment Order"), which came into force on 13 April 2016; and the Iran (European Union Financial Sanctions) Regulations 2016 (SI 2016/36), which came into force on 18 Jan 2016. Each of these implements aspects of the sanctions relief agreed under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action ("JCPOA").

Enforcement Provisions in the new 2016 Sanctions Order

The 2016 Sanctions Order provides for the enforcement of trade sanctions set out in the Iran Sanctions Regulation, as last amended by Council Regulation (EU) 2015/1861. Please see our earlier "Adoption Day" blog post and "Implementation Day" blog post for further details of the amendments to the Iran Sanctions Regulation and the staged sanctions relief agreed in the JCPOA.

In addition to implementing the Iran Sanctions Regulation, the 2012 Sanctions Order also implemented Council Regulation (EU) 359/2011 (the "Iran Human Rights Regulation"); the relevant provisions remain and have not been amended in the new order.

As well as creating offences for the contravention and the circumvention of the trade restrictions in the Iran Sanctions Regulation and the Iran Human Rights Regulation, the 2016 Sanctions Order prohibits the procurement of military goods and creates an offence for breach of that prohibition, and includes offences related to the provision of false information (knowingly and recklessly) for the purpose of obtaining an authorisation or licence and failure to comply with authorisation or licence requirements or conditions. The penalties for the offences are higher under the new order; fines on both summary conviction and conviction on indictment are no longer subject to the statutory maximum, as they were under the 2012 Sanctions Order.

The 2016 Sanctions Order also makes changes to the Export Control (Russia, Crimea and Sevastopol Sanctions) Order 2014 to correct a drafting error, and to the Export Control Order 2008, moving the Central African Republic to the list of destinations under embargo and subject to transit control for military goods in Schedule 2 Part 2, from the list of destinations subject to transit controls for Category B goods in Schedule 2 Part 4.

Other new/updated UK SIs for enforcement of Iran Sanctions

The Iran (European Union Financial Sanctions) Regulations 2016 (SI 2016/36), which came into force on 18 Jan 2016, implemented updated prohibitions and offences with respect to financial sanctions as amended pursuant to the JCPOA (in particular, to reflect the removal of funds transfer controls); this SI revoked and replaced the Iran (European Union Financial Sanctions) Regulations 2012.

The UN Sanctions Amendment Order, which came into force on 13 April 2016, updated prohibitions in the Iran (United Nations Sanctions) Order 2009 (S.I. 2009/886) governing the use of certain vessels, aircraft and vehicles to carry specified goods to and from Iran, to reflect the changes in the sanctions regime against Iran as provided for in United Nations Security Council resolution 2231. Chiefly, these changes lessened the restrictions on carriage of certain goods to and from Iran and removed restrictions on the provision of ship supply services.

The 2016 Overseas Territories Order, which entered into force on 17th March 2016, gives effect in certain UK Overseas Territories to the amendments to the Iran Sanctions Regulation in Council Regulation (EU) 2015/1861 and Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/1862. These amendments provide for the "Implementation Day" sanctions relief agreed in the JCPOA. The 2016 Overseas Territories Order extends to: Anguilla; British Antarctic Territory; British Indian Ocean Territory; Cayman Islands; Falkland Islands; Montserrat; Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands; St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha; South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands; The Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia in the Island of Cyprus; the Turks and Caicos Islands; and the Virgin Islands. Bermuda has also applied this Order, pursuant to recent changes to the Bermudan International Sanctions Regulations 2013.