By Ari Kattan
Updated by Usha Sahay
U.S. Sanctions against Iran in Chronological Order
- Hostage crisis sanctions (1979-1981):
During the Iranian hostage crisis, a series of executive orders blocked Iranian government property and prohibited certain transactions with Iran. These measures were revoked in 1981.
- Iran designated as a state sponsor of terror (1984):
The State Department put Iran on the “terrorism list,” which retroactively triggered bans on US-Iran transactions, including bans on arms sales, export of dual-use technologies, and foreign assistance. In 1996, the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act imposed an additional restriction that required the US to vote against international loans to Iran and to withhold foreign aid to any country selling arms to Iran.
- Executive Order 12613 (1987): Import Ban:
Bans the import of Iranian goods into the United States.
- Iran-Iraq Arms Nonproliferation Act of 1992:
Sanctions foreign entities that provide Iran with WMD technology or “destabilizing numbers and types of conventional weapons.”
- Executive Order 12957 (1995): Iran as extraordinary security threat:
President Clinton declares Iran an extraordinary national security threat and declares a national emergency to deal with it. President Clinton declares Iran an extraordinary threat and declares a national emergency. Every March since 1995, the President renews the declaration of the state of emergency that allows the President to regulate trade with countries considered an extraordinary threat.
- Executive Order 12959 (1995): Trade Ban:
Expands on the 1987 import ban. It places a comprehensive ban, which is still in place, on US trade with, and investment in, Iran Food and medical products are exempt.
- Iran & Libya Sanctions Act of 1996: Sanctions Investment in Iran’s Energy Sector:
Later renamed simply the Iran Sanctions Act, this act is one of the core ones in the current sanctions regime. It is intended to choke Iran’s energy market by sanctioning entities who invest more than $20 million in Iranian energy.The sanctions provisioned in this act only terminate in their entirety when Iran is certified to have ceased its efforts to acquire WMD and to no longer pose a significant threat to the US and its allies, and when Iran is removed from the list of terrorism sponsors.
- Executive Order 13059 (1997): Closing Trade Loopholes with Third Parties:
Prevents US companies from knowingly exporting goods to a third country that will eventually go to Iran.
- Iran Nonproliferation Act of 2000:
Sanctions foreign individuals or corporations that help Iran with WMD development.
- Executive Order 13224 (2001): Sanctioning Terrorism Supporters:
Authorizes the president to freeze the assets of and bar American financial transactions with entities that support terrorism. The order was primarily intended to target entities aiding al-Qaeda, but increasingly began a way to target Iranian firms and other entities.
- Executive Order 13382 (2005): Sanctioning WMD Proliferators:
Authorizes the president to freeze the assets of entities that support WMD proliferators, and to bar those entities’ financial transactions with American entities.
- U-Turn transactions (2006):
The Treasury department banned “U-turn transactions,” or indirect transactions with banks acting on behalf of Iran’s Bank Saderat, due to the bank’s alleged involvement with Hezbollah. In 2008, this restriction was extended to all Iranian banks.
- Iran Freedom and Support Act (2006): Democracy Promotion in Iran:
Authorizes US financial assistance to pro-democracy and human rights organizations in Iran.
- Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act of 2010 (CISADA): Targeting Iran’s Energy & Financial Sectors:
Expands previous energy sanctions by sanctioning sale of gasoline and gasoline production equipment to Iran. Also expands the sanctions of the 1996 Iran Sanctions Act, sanctions banks that transact with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), and blacklists individuals suspected of being involved with human rights abuses related to the June 2009 presidential elections in Iran.
- Executive Order 13572 (2011):
Blocks property of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps for its involvement with human rights abuses in Syria.
- Executive Order 13590 (2011): Targeting Iran’s Energy Sector
Further amends the Iran Sanctions Act to sanction foreign firms that provide Iran with equipment or services that could enhance its oil, gas or petrochemical sector.
- USA Patriot Act, Section 311 (2011):
Under Section 311 of the USA Patriot Act, the Department of the Treasury designates Iran as a money laundering concern, which limits Iranian banks’ access to the US financial sector.
- National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (2011):
Imposes sanctions on foreign banks that transact with Iran’s Central Bank. Exemptions can be issued to banks whose parent countries are certified to have “significantly reduced” their purchases of Iranian oil.
- Executive Order 13599 (2012): Freezing Iran’s Central Bank:
Expands on 2012 NDAA to block all property of Iranian government and Iranian financial institutions, including the Iranian Central Bank.
- Executive Order 13606 (2012): Human Rights Violations Through Information Technology:
Sanctions those who aid the regimes in Iran and Syria to carry out human rights abuses through network disruptions, monitoring, and other uses of information technology.
- Executive Order 13622 (2012):
Sanctions foreign financial institutions who have purchased oil, petroleum, or petrochemical products from Iran. Previously, purchasing oil and natural gas from Iran were not violations of existing sanctions law.
- Iran Threat Reduction Act (August 2012):
Expands existing sanctions on foreign banks dealing with Iran’s energy sectors, as well as on entities involved with human rights abuses in Iran.
- Executive Order 13628 – October 9, 2012:
Blocks the property of entities determined to be involved with censorship within Iran.
- National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 (November 2012):
Sanctions entities providing goods and services to Iran’s energy, shipbuilding, shipping, and port sectors, as well as entities who provide previous or semi-finished metals to Iran.
United Nations Security Council Sanctions against Iran in Chronological Order
(Note: Other UN resolutions have stipulated that Iran suspend uranium enrichment and reprocessing, but are not included on this list because they do not impose sanctions).
- UNSCR 1737 (2006):
Prohibits member nations from selling equipment to Iran that could aid its nuclear or ballistic missile development; sanctions Iranian entities involved in those activities.
- UNSCR 1747 (2007):
Prohibits member nations from purchasing arms-related material from Iran; urges member nations and international institutions not to enter financial commitments with Iran; sanctions additional Iranian entities.
- UNSCR 1803 (2008):
Requires member nations to bar individuals involved in Iran’s WMD development from entering their territory; expands restrictions on sale of WMD equipment to Iran; urges member nations to restrict transactions with Iranian banks; authorizes inspections of Iran Air Cargo and Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lane cargo suspected of carrying WMD-related materials; sanctions additional Iranian entities.
- UNSCR 1929 (2010):
Expands ban on sale of heavy weapons and missile technology to Iran; prohibits Iran from investing in nuclear and ballistic missile technology; authorizes countries to inspect all Iranian cargo if it is suspected of carrying WMD-related materials, imposes financial sanctions on entities working with Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (a government company suspected of financing WMD development); sanctions additional Iranian entities.
- Energy & arms sanctions (2010):
EU resolution prohibits member nations from exporting or importing military and WMD equipment from or to Iran; prohibits sale of energy equipment to Iran; encourages member states to restrict financial transactions with Iran; prohibits the provision of insurance and loans to Iranian entities.
EU Sanctions against Iran in Chronological Order
- Ban on dual-use technology (2010):
EU member states are prohibited from supplying Iran with dual-use items and technology, as well as other equipment that could potentially aid Iranian nuclear development, or be used to aid internal repression in Iran.
- Blacklisting of human rights violators (2011):
The EU blacklists a number of officials involved in Iranian human rights violations.
- SWIFT Cutoff (2012):
The European group SWIFT (Society for Worldwide International Financial Transfers) ended transactions with Iranian banks previously blacklisted by the EU.
- EU oil embargo and other measures (2012):
An EU oil embargo against Iran took effect. In addition, the EU banned insurance for shipping oil from Iran, banned trade with Iran in precious metals, and froze the assets of Iran’s Central Bank and several other entities.
- Additional EU sanctions (2012):
The EU adopted a number of additional sanctions, including a ban on transactions between European and Iranian banks, a ban on natural gas imports, and a ban on exporting certain sensitive materials to Iran, including metals that could be used for WMD development, shipbuilding technology, and oil storage capabilities.
Congressional Research Service:<a “=”” href=”http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/mideast/RS20871.pdf”>http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/mideast/RS20871.pdf
European Union External Action: http://eeas.europa.eu/index_en.htm
International Crisis Group:http://www.crisisgroup.org/~/media/Files/Middle%20East%20North%20Africa/Iran%20Gulf/Iran/138-spider-web-the-making-and-unmaking-of-iran-sanctions.pdf
Center for Strategic and International Studies: http://csis.org/files/publication/120426_Iran_Sanctions.pdf
Iran Primer, U.S. Institute of Peace: http://iranprimer.usip.org/
American Security Project: http://americansecurityproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Ref-0054-Iran-Sanctions-Fact-Sheet.pdf