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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Iran Sanctions


In response to Iran’s continued illicit nuclear activities, the United States and other countries have imposed unprecedented sanctions to censure Iran and prevent its further progress in prohibited nuclear activities, as well as to persuade Tehran to address the international community’s concerns about its nuclear program. Acting both through the United Nations Security Council and regional or national authorities, the United States, the member states of the European Union, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Canada, Australia, Norway, Switzerland, and others have put in place a strong, inter-locking matrix of sanctions measures relating to Iran's nuclear, missile, energy, shipping, transportation, and financial sectors.

These measures are designed: (1) to block the transfer of weapons, components, technology, and dual-use items to Iran’s prohibited nuclear and missile programs; (2) to target select sectors of the Iranian economy relevant to its proliferation activities; and (3) to induce Iran to engage constructively, through discussions with the United States, China, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Russia in the “E3+3 process,” to fulfill its nonproliferation obligations. These nations have made clear that Iran’s full compliance with its international nuclear obligations would open the door to its receiving treatment as a normal non-nuclear-weapon state under The Nonproliferation Treaty and sanctions being lifted.

Department of State

The United States has imposed restrictions on activities with Iran under various legal authorities since 1979, following the seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. The most recent statute, the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act (ITRSHRA), added new measures and procedures to the 1996 Iran Sanctions Act (ISA). The ISA authorizes sanctions on businesses or individuals engaging in certain commercial transactions in Iran.

The Department of State's Office of Economic Sanctions Policy and Implementation is responsible for enforcing and implementing a number of U.S. sanctions programs that restrict access to the United States for companies that engage in certain commercial activities in Iran, in particular the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA), the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act (CISADA), Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act (ITRSHRA), Executive Order 13590, and Executive Order 13622.

Department of Treasury

The Department of Treasury also plays a primary role in enforcing sanctions against Iran. For more information on the Department of Treasury's sanctions implementation, please visit their website.


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