40 years of international sanctions against Iran

40 years of international sanctions against Iran
40 years of international sanctions against Iran

Here is a chronology of more than 40 years of international sanctions against Iran, from the hostage-taking at the US Embassy to those linked to the suppression of protests that erupted after the death of Mahsa Amini.

The Iranian economy has been severely damaged, with accelerating inflation and a sharp drop in the rial. The sanctions are particularly affected by the supply of medicines and medical equipment.

Freeze assets after hostage-taking

In April 1980, Washington issued a ban on the supply of consumer goods and froze $12 billion of Iranian assets after the hostage-taking at the US Embassy in Tehran (November 4, 1979 to January 20, 1981).

Banning Iranian products from entering the United States

In early 1984, Washington placed Iran on its blacklist of countries exporting terrorism for its involvement in the Beirut attacks of October 23, 1983, in which 241 American soldiers were killed. In October 1987, President Ronald Reagan banned the import of Iranian products and some exports to Iran, in response to Iranian attacks on American forces in the Gulf.

Comprehensive ban

In June 1995, Bill Clinton issued a decree imposing a comprehensive ban on Iran on charges of supporting international terrorism.

The following year, Congress passed the “Amato Act,” which provided for retaliatory measures against foreign companies that invest in Iran’s oil sector.

Sanctions from the United Nations on the Iranian nuclear program

In 2005, Iran’s conservative president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, restarted the nuclear program. Against the background of suspicions of Tehran’s desire to acquire nuclear weapons, the United Nations announced a series of sanctions.

From 2006 to 2010, four resolutions stipulated the imposition of economic and trade sanctions on entities associated with the Iranian nuclear and ballistic programs and the freezing of their assets and the assets of persons associated with them. Added to this is an embargo on Iranian weapons and a restriction on Tehran’s ability to borrow.


US and European sanctions


For its part, the United States in 2008 banned American banks from acting as intermediaries in the transfer of funds with Iran. Between 2010 and 2012, retaliatory measures were announced against foreign companies investing in Iran’s oil sector. The automotive sector was also targeted.

In 2010, the European Union banned technical assistance or transfer of oil technology to Iran, froze the assets of 243 Iranian entities at the end of 2011, imposed an oil embargo in early 2012, froze the assets of the Central Bank of Iran, and then banned transactions between European and Iranian banks.

lifting sanctions

In 2015, the Iran nuclear deal, which was supposed to ensure that Iran would not obtain nuclear weapons, provided for the lifting of sanctions imposed since 2006 over the nuclear program in stages.

Trump reimposes sanctions

In 2018, Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the agreement and reimposed severe economic sanctions on Iran, which responded by gradually withdrawing from the agreement.

Europe tried to circumvent new US sanctions with a barter mechanism called Instex that was activated in March 2020 in the midst of the first wave of COVID-19 to deliver medical equipment to Iran. But the Instex mechanism was limited.

Biden negotiates and continues to impose sanctions

Since Joe Biden’s arrival in the White House in early 2021, Washington has negotiated indirectly with Iran to return to the nuclear deal. But the US President continued the policy of sanctions in response to human rights violations, the delivery of Iranian weapons to Russia, or cyber attacks.

Washington and Brussels have imposed several packages of sanctions since the bloody suppression of the demonstrations after the killing of Mahsa Amini in September, after she was detained by the morality police in Tehran.

And Monday, January 23, 2023, the European Union imposed sanctions on a number of Iranian Revolutionary Guard leaders.



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