Tuesday’s decision by President Donald Trump to withdraw the US from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal will have ramifications for the shipping sector.
As flagged during his election campaign in 2016 the president decided to pull out of the multi-party agreement, which he had labelled “a horrible deal” because he claimed it gave up too much to the Tehran authorities.
When the deal was put in place three years ago the US and other major powers lifted a number of sanctions and embargoes already imposed on Iran in return for that country reining in its civilian nuclear program in a verifiable fashion.
Properly called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the Iran deal was also co-signed by Russia, China, the European Union, the UK, France and Germany.
France, Germany and the UK all expressed disappointment at Trump’s decision in a joint statement on Tuesday.
Now, with America’s unilateral withdrawal from the deal, those sanctions will be put back in place.
However, with the other JCPOA signatories saying they remain committed to the deal, it raises the interesting question of how far America will go to deter businesses in those countries that do not go along with the sanctions regime.
Among the original sanctions were bans on US entities doing business with Iran’s ports and its shipping and shipbuilding sectors.
Those would include restrictions on Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) and tanker giant NITC.
When President Trump signed an executive memorandum on Tuesday launching the US process of withdrawal it started a clock ticking on the restoration of those sanctions.
Shipping and ports won’t be touched in the first wave of reimposed penalties, which will be completed within 90 days.
But by the end of 180 days, effectively on November 4, ports and shipping will again be embargoed. And US firms and agencies will be barred from buying petroleum and petrochemical products from a number of Iranian companies.