FACTBOX: Sanctions imposed on Iran
International sanctions meant to deprive Iran's nuclear programme of funds and technology are squeezing the country's vital oil exports.
Talks between Iran and major powers, that could lead to an easing of sanctions if successful, are set to begin in Baghdad on Wednesday.
Following are details of major sanctions imposed on Iran by the United States, the European Union, and the United Nations over the years.
- Initial sanctions were imposed after Iranian students stormed the U.S. embassy and took diplomats hostage in 1979. Iranian products cannot be imported into the United States apart from small gifts, information material, food and some carpets.
- In 1995, President Bill Clinton issued executive orders preventing U.S. companies from investing in Iranian oil and gas and trading with Iran.
- The same year, Congress passed a law imposing sanctions on foreign companies investing more than $20 million a year in Iran's energy sector.
- In October 2007, Washington imposed sanctions on three Iranian banks and branded the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps a proliferater of weapons of mass destruction. The Treasury has since added numerous other Iranian banks to its blacklist.
- The Treasury has identified about 20 petroleum and petrochemical companies as being under Iranian government control, an action that put them off-limits to U.S. businesses under the trade embargo.
- Congress approved tough new unilateral sanctions on June 24, 2010, aimed at squeezing Iran's energy and banking sectors.
- The new law imposed penalties on companies that supply Iran with refined petroleum products worth more than $5 million a year. It also effectively deprived foreign banks of access to the U.S. financial system if they did business with Iranian banks or the Revolutionary Guards.
- In May 2011, the United States announced new sanctions on Venezuela's state oil company, PDVSA, and six other smaller oil and shipping firms for trading with Iran in violation of the U.S. ban, prompting fury from Hugo Chavez's government.
- On June 11, it announced new sanctions on the Revolutionary Guards, the Basij Resistance Force, and Iran's law enforcement forces. The sanctions froze any of the targets' assets under U.S. jurisdiction and barred U.S. persons and institutions from dealing with them.
- On Nov. 21 the United States named Iran as an area of "primary money-laundering concern", a step designed to dissuade non-U.S. banks from dealing with it. The United States also blacklisted 11 entities suspected of aiding its nuclear programmes and expanded sanctions to target companies that aid its oil and petrochemical industries.
- On Dec. 31, 2011, President Barack Obama signed into law a defence funding bill that imposed sanctions on financial institutions dealing with Iran's central bank, which is the main conduit for oil revenues. Sanctioned institutions would be frozen out of the U.S. financial markets.
- On Jan. 13, 2012 the United States extended sanctions to Chinese state-run energy trader Zhuhai Zhenrong Corp, which it said was Iran's largest supplier of refined petroleum products. It also imposed sanctions on Singapore's Kuo Oil Pte Ltd and United Arab Emirates-based FAL Oil Company Ltd.
- The United States exempted Japan and 10 European Union nations from financial sanctions on March 20 because they had significantly cut purchases of Iranian oil, but Iran's top customers China and India remain at risk of such steps. On March 28 the Treasury set additional sanctions against Iranian engineering firms with ties to the Revolutionary Guards, as well as individuals and shipping companies with ties to the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL).
- On May 21 the Senate approved the latest tightening of sanctions on Iran's oil trade..
- On Aug. 12, 2010 the EU banned the creation of joint ventures with enterprises in Iran engaged in the oil and natural gas industries.
- Member states must prohibit the provision of insurance and re-insurance to the government of Iran.
- The import and export of arms and equipment that could contribute to uranium enrichment, or have a "dual use", is banned.
- The sanctions forbid the sale, supply or transfer of energy equipment and technology used by Iran for exploration and production or for refining or liquefying natural gas. The EU expects the effects of the sanctions to increase over time as existing parts wear out.
- In May 2011, EU foreign ministers added 100 new entities to a list of companies and people affected, including those owned or controlled by IRISL.
- Last October, the EU imposed sanctions on 29 people, extending the list targeting individuals associated with human rights violations to 61. On Dec. 1, the EU added 180 Iranians and entities to a sanctions blacklist that imposes asset freezes and travel bans on those involved in the nuclear programme.
- On Jan. 23, 2012 the EU placed an immediate ban on all new contracts to import, purchase or transport Iranian crude oil and petroleum products. EU countries with existing contracts to buy oil and petroleum products were allowed to honour them until July 1.
- The EU also agreed to freeze the assets of Iran's central bank and ban trade in gold and other precious metals with the bank and state bodies.
- The Security Council has imposed four sets of sanctions on Iran, in December 2006, March 2007, March 2008 and June 2010.
- The first covered sensitive nuclear materials and froze the assets of Iranian individuals and companies linked with the nuclear programme.
- The second included new arms and financial sanctions. It extended an asset freeze to 28 more groups, companies and individuals engaged in or supporting sensitive nuclear work or the development of ballistic missiles.
- The third, in 2008, increased travel and financial curbs on individuals and companies. It expanded a partial ban on trade in items with both civilian and military uses to cover sales of all such technology to Iran.
- A Security Council resolution passed on June 9, 2010, called for measures against new Iranian banks abroad if a connection to the nuclear or missile programmes was suspected.
- It expanded a U.N. arms embargo against Tehran and blacklisted three firms controlled by IRISL and 15 belonging to the Revolutionary Guards. The resolution called for the setting up of a cargo inspection regime.