While here at the Green Mien we typically write about US-centric energy policy, today’s post crosses the Atlantic to discuss the European Union’s new trade and financial sanctions on Iran. On January 23rd, the EU passed two Regulations (here and here) and a Decision regarding Iran. These new sanctions include an embargo on imports of Iranian crude oil as well as broad restrictions on business with the Iranian energy industry.
Phased-in through July 2012, the embargo prohibits the import, purchase, and transport of Iranian crude oil and any petrochemical products – and any related financing. The ban extends to all Iranian oil firms, even those operating outside the country, and prohibits investment in these companies. Further, exports of equipment and technology to be used by the Iranian oil industry are strictly controlled.
A memo from Sidley Austin explains that the expanded embargo targets the main sources of funding for Iran’s nuclear program. It’s a highly charged geopolitical battle on which the Green Mien writers are not prepared to take a stance. A memo from SNR Denton, however, points out that as the EU (and Australia, as they have announced recently) follows suit to join US and UN sanctions, and other countries such as South Korea and Japan consider similar measures, governments and industry worldwide will have to develop enforcement and compliance standards, respectively. For American firms, the US Treasury has an overview of sanctions regulations on their website’s resource center.