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EU arms embargo on Iran

Due to concerns over Iran's nuclear programme the EU imposed a full arms embargo on Iran in 2007. In addition, due to concerns about the human rights situation in Iran the EU imposed an embargo on transfers to Iran of equipment that might be used for internal repression and of equipment for monitoring telecommunications. Both embargoes remain in place.

In February 2007 the European Union imposed a number of sanctions on Iran in order to implement decisions of the United Nations Security Council related to concerns over Iran's nuclear programme. The sanctions included a prohibition on the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer of items, materials, equipment, goods and technology contained in the Missile Technology Control Regime lists for the use in, or benefit of, Iran. The provisions were part of Council Common Position 2007/140/CFSP concerning restrictive measures against Iran.

In April 2007 the EU imposed further sanctions on Iran in reaction to concerns over Iran's nuclear programme. These included a full arms embargo on Iran, prohibiting arms and related materiel of all types, including weapons and ammunition, military vehicles and equipment, paramilitary equipment and spare parts for the aforementioned. This provision was part of Council Common Position 2007/246/CFSP. The EU arms embargo on Iran preceded the UN embargo on transfers of major conventional arms to Iran from June 2010. Its scope differs from the UN arms embargo in that it includes all types of arms and not only those defined by the UN Register of Conventional Arms.

As part of an international agreement on the Iranian nuclear programme, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) of 14 July 2015, the EU agreed a timeline to lift its missile technology and arms transfers embargo on Iran eight years after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) would provide a report to the UNSC which conforms that Iran has taken the actions related to its nuclear programme specified in the JCPOA. This day, the JCPOA Adoption Day, occurred on 18 october 2015. The EU embargoes are therefore scheduled to remain in place until 18 October 2023.

The EU embargoes will also be lifted if and when the IAEA has reached the so-called 'Broader Conclusion' in which it concludes that all nuclear material in Iran remains in peaceful activities, even if this occurs before 18 October 2023.

Separate from the sanctions related to the concerns over Iran's nuclear programme the EU imposed in April 2011 sanctions on Iran in reaction to concerns about violations of human rights. These included a ban on exports to Iran of equipment which might be used for internal repression, such as riot control vehicles and razor bared wire, and of equipment for monitoring telecommunications. These measures are regularly updated and currently in place until 14 April 2017. They are part of Council Regulation No 359/201, which includes an annex listing the embargoed equipment in more detail.

Last updated on
Embargo type: EU embargoes
Entry into force:
Establishing document: 2007/246/CFSP