European Commission launches online guidance tools on trade with Iran

Submitted by Lee Gibson on 09 October 2020

The European Commission has launched two free online platforms to support businesses, particularly Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), who want to trade with Iran.

The Due Diligence Helpdesk provides concrete, tailor-made support to European Union (EU) SMEs by checking if specific business projects comply with EU sanctions.

In doing so, the platform aims to encourage EU SMEs to engage in legitimate business involving Iran and provide reassurance to other stakeholders, such as European banks. The helpdesk will also publish guides, organise training and webinars and support business matchmaking events.

The Sanctions Tool is based on an easy-to-use interactive questionnaire. It provides EU SMEs with general, non-binding guidance on whether their business projects could fall under EU sanctions concerning Iran.

In line with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA), the EU lifted all its economic and financial sanctions imposed in connection with the Iranian nuclear programme.

However, as several EU restrictions concerning Iran remain in place, the two online platforms aim to assist economic operators when engaging with Iran.

Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President for an Economy that Works for People, said: “The EU Sanctions Tool and the Due Diligence Helpdesk aim to provide useful guidance and orientation to EU economic operators, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, enabling them to engage with confidence with Iranian business partners.”

Josep Borrell, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President for a Stronger Europe in the World, said: “By developing these initiatives, the EU seeks to strengthen and facilitate legitimate trade between Iran and the EU, in line with the EU's continued efforts under the JCPOA.”

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