Sanctions updates: Iran and Ukraine

The temporary sanctions relief on Iran petrochemical exports have been extended through 24 November 2014. Due to the crisis in Ukraine and the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 in Donetsk with the tragic loss of so many lives, both the U.S. and the EU have announced new sanctions targeting individuals and entities in Russia. 

The P5+1 (U.S., United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia and China, coordinated by EU High Representative Catherine Ashton) and Iran affirmed on 19 July their commitments to implement the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA) from November last year. Hence, the temporary sanctions relief has been extended for another six months. The U.S. Office of Foreign Asset Controls (OFAC) has published som key documents related to this on its website.

On 29 July, the U.S. and EU announced new restrictive measures against Russia.

OFAC imposed prohibitions on three Russian financial institutions and one state-owned defense technology firm (United Shipbuilding Corporation). These new targets come in addition to the restrictive measures on "US-Person" dealings in new debt or new equity of two Russian banks (Gazprombank OAO and VEB) and in new debt of two Russian energy companies (OAO Novatek and Rosneft) that were announced on 16 July. A complete list of all Ukraine-related sanctions is available from the OFAC website.

The EU agreed on a package that will "limit access to EU capital markets for Russian State-owned financial institutions, impose an embargo on trade in arms, establish an export ban for dual use goods for military end users, and curtail Russian access to sensitive technologies particularly in the field of the oil sector". For more information on EU restrictive measures in view of the crisis in Ukraine, see background note from the European Council.

As of 15 July, all Crimean ports have been officially closed. The Ukrainian Government informed of this closure and the situation in their territorial sea and exclusive economic zone in the Black Sea and Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait in a communication to the IMO on 21 July; c.f. Circular Letter No.3477.