Just the Facts

Five Facts on the History of Iran Nuclear Sanctions

By No Labels
June 26, 2019 | Blog

Iran’s nuclear program first faced UN sanctions in 2007. 

The first nuclear sanctions on Iran came after the international community criticized Iran’s failure to comply with U.N. demands to suspend uranium enrichment. As a result, the UN Security Council imposed sanctions in 2007 and the U.S. and European Union followed in 2010. Iran’s refusal to comply with these demands caused suspicion that its nuclear program was cover for the development of an atomic bomb, and the sanctions were meant to restrict any possible expansion of the program or acquisition of nuclear weapons. Economic sanctions also targeted people and companies involved in the suspected development of nuclear weapons.[1]

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action was signed in 2015. 

Commonly known as the Iran Nuclear Deal, the agreement was negotiated under the Obama administration with G5+1 (U.S., U.K., France, Russia, China, and Germany) to limit Iran’s sensitive nuclear activities in return for some sanctions being lifted. Constant sanctions had crippled the Iranian economy through the restriction of its oil exports and other critical economic industries. Once the deal lifted the sanctions, Iran’s economy received a boost from access to previously frozen assets and access to global financial systems.[2]

President Trump reinstated economic sanctions against Iran in 2018. 

The Trump administration reimposed previously suspended economic sanctions and threatened the further sanctions. These reinstated sanctions significantly damaged the Iranian economy. Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal and expressed a desire to renegotiate a new, more robust deal.[3]The administration hopes that the renewed pressure of the sanctions would force Iran to renegotiate terms of a deal with the US. 

US economic sanctions are estimated to cost Iran over $10 billion in oil revenue per year[4]

Among the hardest economic sectors hit by the sanctions are the oil and metal industries, two crucial pillars of the economy[5]. Oil production has decreased by 50%, from its peak of 4 million barrels per day. The lost oil revenue and resulting economic instability caused the Rial to lose almost 60% of its value against the U.S. dollar on the unofficial market[6].

On June 24, 2019, President Trump signed an executive order to impose further economic sanctions on Iran. 

The additional sanctions come after a U.S. drone was shot down by Iran over what the Trump administration said were international waters. President Trump considered retaliatory strikes against Iran but canceled them at the last minute. The executive order calls for economic sanctions against the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, his associates, and individuals directly linked to recent tension escalations.[7]


[1]https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/new-atlanticist/a-brief-history-of-sanctions-on-iran

[2]https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-33521655

[3]https://www.vox.com/world/2018/5/8/17328520/iran-nuclear-deal-trump-withdraw

[4]https://www.cnbc.com/2019/04/25/reuters-america-update-3-oil-firm-on-tightening-iran-sanctions-but-surging-u-s-supply-holds-back-prices.html

[5]https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-sanctions-iranian-petrochemical-company-11559921618?mod=article_inline

[6]https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-48119109

[7]https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-plans-new-iran-sanctions-as-europe-tries-to-defuse-tensions-11561321739?mod=hp_lead_pos1

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