Key Issues > Iran Sanctions
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Iran Sanctions

The United States and its international partners have implemented a broad range of sanctions targeting Iran to deter it from developing a nuclear program and ballistic missile capabilities, supporting terrorism, and continuing human rights abuses.

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Sanctions targeting Iran have included, for example, bans on almost all non-humanitarian U.S. trade and investment with Iran, denying designated entities access to the U.S. financial system, and freezing some Iranian assets under U.S. jurisdiction. U.S. sanctions also apply to non-U.S. persons that conduct specified activities with designated entities.

These sanctions have hurt the Iranian economy. For example, between 2010 and 2012 the Iranian economy consistently underperformed compared to the economies of its peer countries across a number of key economic indicators, such as oil export revenues and economic growth.  

In 2016, the United States eased some sanctions on Iran as part of the multilateral nuclear agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). However, the United States continued to sanction entities under authorities that remained in place as of 2017, including those targeting Iran’s Weapons of Mass Destruction and ballistic missile programs.

On May 8, 2018, President Trump announced that the United States would cease participation in the JCPOA. On November 5, 2018, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced that, as of November 5, “all U.S. sanctions lifted or waived in connection with the JCPOA are re-imposed and in full effect.” OFAC also stated that as part of the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions, in its largest ever single-day action targeting the Iranian regime, OFAC sanctioned more than 700 individuals, entities, aircraft, and vessels.

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