By Elmira Shahbazi, Associate LEXIA Avvocati

 

Last 6 October 2020, the EU Commission launched a new digital platform to support EU companies doing business with Iran.

The JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) dated 14 July 2015 intended to put an end to all economic and financial sanctions imposed by the European Union in connection with the Iranian nuclear program. However, some restrictions remained in place with reference to certain persons and in relation to particular categories of goods. Over the years, the scope of application of these restrictions has created significant uncertainty among EU companies that wanted to do business with Iran and the EU banking system, preventing the trade between the EU and Iran.

The new platform launched by the EU Commission includes the following tools aimed at facilitating business with Iran:

  1. a “Due Diligence Helpdesk“, and
  2. a “Sanctions Tool“.

Both tools are aimed at helping EU companies that intend to engage in commercial relationships with Iran to identify their Iranian partners and permitted business.

The Due Diligence Helpdesk is an online platform that allows a free due diligence check on the compliance with European sanctions by the potential Iranian business partner. Using this tool, users can verify whether potential Iranian partners comply with European sanctions. The Due Diligence Helpdesk provides concrete and tailor-made support to European SMEs by performing due diligence and verifying whether specific business projects comply with European sanctions.

The Helpdesk will also publish guides, organize training courses, webinars and support business to business events.

The Sanctions Tool, on the other hand, is based on an interactive questionnaire, aimed in particular at small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) interested in engaging in activities involving Iran. This tool provides an easily accessible source of information on European restrictive measures. Its aim is to give a first general and non-binding orientation to assist SMEs in carrying out business projects, in full awareness and respect of the European restrictive measures against Iran.

EU companies that want to do business with Iran, can now visit the platform, enter a description of the type of goods they intend to export and of their Iranian counterparties, and quickly obtain a confirmation as to whether the transaction is legitimate and what measures  should be taken to carry out that specific transaction.