The recent tightening of the sanctions against Iran has further
unsettled the German economy. However, the sanctions are so
specific that they will only have a direct impact on some German
enterprises. Indirectly, however, all economic sectors will be
affected by an increasing uncertainty in the trading community.
The sanctions are primarily aimed at the export of oil and
natural gas into the EU. Thus, directly affected enterprises are
only those which are dependent upon imports from Iran. Transitional
regulations have been reached for existing contracts, albeit with a
very short deadline of until 1 July 2012. Further uncertainty
exists with respect to these transitional regulations, e.g. in the
case of long-term framework agreements.
Further sanction regulations are directed against the
petrochemical industry, applying both to the export of key
petrochemical technology and the import of petrochemical products.
Transitional regulations have also been reached herefor, albeit
without a deadline. The oil and gas branch was already affected by
the sanctions imposed in 2010. Enterprises wishing to trade with
Iran outside the field of listed commodities can continue to do
However, the new sanctions are of indirect relevance to many
other enterprises for another reason. Both the EU and the USA have
made their resolution to further tighten the sanctions against Iran
clear. And: politics and the European legislator are coming to
decisions with increasing speed and are also swiftly implementing
This means: Iran is becoming an increasingly uncertain business
partner as the rules of the game can change at any moment and
protection of confidence in already existing contracts is only
granted conditionally and frequently without legal clarity. Whoever
concludes a contract with Iran today must – irrespective
of the branch – reckon with problems in the fulfilment of
the contract, both with respect to the fulfilment of his own
obligations as well as regarding receipt of the
The challenge in trading with Iran has thus long since passed
the stage of observing the complex sanctions, the violation of
which can incur a criminal penalty. An increasing focus is the
structuring of the contracts in all economic sectors. Here,
enterprises should use exit clauses to try and achieve the legal
certainty that the EU regulations fail to give.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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