The recent agreement by world powers to lift sanctions against Iran offers tremendous opportunities for companies to reenter the Iranian market and invest in that country. The deal, which culminates 20 months of negotiations, will lift certain sanctions on Iran but place strict limits on the country’s nuclear program for more than a decade.
Shearman & Sterling hosted a conference call on July 22 led by Danforth Newcomb, Anthony Patten, Barney Reynolds and James Campbell to examine the impact of this historic agreement and discuss how companies should prepare to take advantage of these business opportunities. With a wealth of experience in economic sanctions, project development and banking matters, these lawyers provided insights on a wide range of pertinent issues, including the following:
Newcomb cautioned listeners, “This is a plan, not an implementation, so the first thing everyone needs to focus on is that we have not yet lifted any sanctions. There won’t be any change of laws either in the US or the EU until the plan is implemented.”
Campbell added, “Because of the underlying treaties, all EU member states have to agree [to lift sanctions]. But now there’s a legal obligation to lift sanctions on implementation day, provided that Iran complies with its commitments as documented by the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency).”
Reynolds noted that the changes to the US sanctions are far more limited and complex than the EU sanctions. “On implementation day, the EU will terminate a majority of its sanctions and it will no longer be prohibited for EU persons to participate in certain prohibited activities,” he said.
Patten, who concentrates in the oil and gas industry, said, “The lack of access to Western technology and foreign investment has hampered production of Iranian oil and gas…. Now we expect to see some very significant efforts by Iran in relation to natural gas and in particular, liquefied natural gas.”
Listen to the audio of the conference call below.
For more information on the sanctions targeting Iran, please visit our Iran Sanctions page.