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Web Alert: Update on President Trump’s refusal to recertify the Iran deal

18 December 2017

On 15 October 2017, President Trump refused to recertify that Iran was complying with the ‘Iran deal’ otherwise known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) despite the fact that the International Atomic Energy Agency has confirmed that Iran is honouring its commitments under the JCPOA. The JCPOA is an international agreement whereby nuclear-related sanctions against Iran were lifted by the UK, France, Russia, China, Germany, the US and the EU in exchange for Iran agreeing to restrict its nuclear activities. The US only agreed to lift sanctions against non-US persons/entities, so sanctions have continued to apply to US persons/entities. 

Under US law, President Trump must certify to the US Congress every 90 days that Iran is complying with the JCPOA. To date he has issued two such certifications (in April and June 2017). 

The US Congress had 60 days (until 14 December 2017) to decide whether to re-impose Iranian sanctions. This deadline passed with Congress taking no formal action on the matter. President Trump is now expected to decide in mid-January 2018 whether to recertify the JCPOA. 

Some commentators suggest that the US will not re-impose sanctions and that instead they will enact legislation which shall provide trigger points to prompt the US to re-impose sanctions, e.g. if there is evidence that Iran is manufacturing nuclear weapons.

Members are reminded of the need to carry out due diligence before transacting any business to or from Iran to ensure that the trade or the parties to the transaction are not subject to sanctions. We would strongly advise members to seek legal advice, if they have any concerns.