Members will have noted the decision by President Trump announced on May 8 to withdraw the USA from participation in the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) agreed between Iran, the EU, and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States – plus Germany), and to re-impose US nuclear-related sanctions.
The decision is expected to have significant implications for maritime trade with Iran and the insurance of such trade. However, a full assessment of the likely impact of the decision will only be possible following receipt of clarification of the position of the remaining JCPOA partners, who have recently reaffirmed their support for the JCPOA, together with further clarification from the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) in relation to the management of the “wind-down” periods envisaged under the decision.
An FAQ document, published by OFAC yesterday, is attached. The FAQ indicates that following a 180 day ‘wind-down’ period running up to 4th November 2018, sanctions will be restored (including secondary sanctions directed against non-US persons) in relation to specified activities and entities in relation to which relief was granted under the JCPOA. It should be noted that this includes in paragraph 1.3:
(i) sanctions against Iran’s ports operators, and shipping and shipbuilding sectors; sanctions against IRISL and South Shipping Line.
(ii) sanctions on petroleum-related transactions with, among others, the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), Naftiran Intertrade Company (NICO), and National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC) including the purchase of petroleum, petroleum products, or petrochemical products from Iran.
(v) sanctions on the provision of underwriting services, insurance, or reinsurance.
Paragraph 4.4 provides that that General Licence H, which authorizes U.S. owned or controlled foreign entities to engage in certain activities involving Iran, will be revoked as soon as is administratively feasible, and that activities already authorised by Licence H, including provision of insurance and re-insurance, must be wound down by November 4th 2018.
The International Group Clubs will continue to monitor developments and further guidance will be provided when there is greater clarity. In the meantime, however, Members should take care before entering into any new Iran related fixture to ensure that they only do so with up to date legal advice on sanctions compliance.