Following the announcement by the International Atomic Energy Association that Iran has met its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear deal, Australia has suspended all nuclear-related sanctions against Iran. Australian companies and individuals are now able to participate in a number of commercial activities previously prohibited; however, while many elements of Australia's Iranian sanctions regime have been suspended, others remain in place.
The Australian Government has followed the decision taken by the
United Nations, the United States and the European Union and
announced that it has removed certain sanctions against Iran.
Australia's Consolidated List of designated entities and
individuals was updated on 22 January 2016 to reflect these
Removal of certain United Nations Security Council sanctions
Following the receipt of the report from the International
Atomic Energy Agency on 16 January 2016, United Nations Security
Council Resolution 2231 provides for the termination of provisions
of previous Security Council resolution on the Iranian nuclear
As a consequence, the Australian Government has now also
confirmed that the Charter of the UN (Sanctions – Iran)
Regulations 2008 (Cth)(UN Iran Regulations)
will be read down to reflect the termination of various UN Security
This means that certain persons and entities will no longer be
designated persons and entities under the Charter of the United
Nations Act 1945 (Cth) and there will no longer be a
prohibition on doing business with entities on the Iran Specified
The UN Iran Regulations will be formally amended in due
Removal of certain autonomous sanctions measures
Australia will also make changes to certain autonomous sanctions
in force against Iran under the Autonomous Sanctions
The designation of some additional persons and entities by
Australia under this sanctions regime will be revoked and the
prohibition on the import and export of certain goods, provision of
certain services (including various marine services) and engagement
in specific commercial activity will be suspended. For example,
prohibitions in respect of equipment and technology for the oil and
gas industry and the petrochemical industry, and on the supply of
gold and precious metals have been suspended. In addition, various
Iranian financial institutions will no longer be prohibited from
opening representative offices in Australia or establishing an
Australian branch or subsidiary.
The Australian Government has announced that these prohibitions
will be permanently removed through appropriate legislative
amendments as soon as possible and a new list of import and export
sanctioned goods will be issued.
New opportunities for Australian business but caution
In announcing the changes to the sanctions measures,
Australia's Foreign Minister Julie Bishop stated that
"the easing of these sanctions will ensure that Australian
business is not disadvantaged in pursuing opportunities in
The value of Australia's exports to Iran is currently AUD360
million (excluding goods transshipped through other parts of the
Middle East), with wheat accounting for over 90 per cent of total
exports. With Australian exports to Iran having previously
peaked at approximately AUD1 billion, the lifting of sanctions is
expected to see exports from Australia to Iran increase
significantly across a range of goods and services.
However, as Australia's sanctions regime against Iran has
not been lifted entirely, Australian entities are reminded to
exercise caution, and seek advice before dealing with Iranian
entities both in Iran or elsewhere in the world.
Australian sanctions against Iran remain in place against
various designated persons and entities and in respect of
Iran's ballistic-missile industry.
It should also be noted that Australian entities are still
required to seek approval for transactions worth AUD20,000 or more
to or from Iran pursuant to Australia's anti-money laundering
and counter-terrorism legislation.
Australian entities should also consider whether their intended
dealings with Iran would contravene any sanctions imposed by any
other country. For instance, various Iranian sanctions imposed by
the European Union and the United States remain in place. For
Australian entities, there may be issues with transfer of US
dollars to Iranian entities with banks still unable to clear US
dollars for Iranian business.
If you have any questions regarding how the changes to
Australia's sanctions regime against Iran affect your business
specifically, or on setting up and doing business with Iran, please
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