Iran Sanctions: JPOA Basics

The JPOA or Joint Plan of Action was a framework agreement that encouraged the P5+1 to continue to negotiate a comprehensive deal on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for narrow and temporary sanctions relief. That framework deal helps pave the way to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA, which is also commonly referred to as the “Iran Deal”.

The JPOA was entered into on November 24th, 2013. It is narrowly-construed sanctions relief program designed to encourage Iran to stay at the negotiating table. It is the only eligible sanctions relief until Implementation Day.

Sanctions Relief Under the JPOA

The JPOA relaxed economic sanctions directed at non-U.S. persons when conducting business with Iran related to petrochemical products; the automobile industry; Iran’s purchase and sale of gold and other precious metals; and Iran’s export of crude oil to China, India, Japan, South Korea, Turkey, and Taiwan. The United States also authorized U.S. persons to supply Iran’s spare parts in support of the safe operation of Iran’s civil aircraft. Furthermore, the JPOA established a financial channel to facilitate humanitarian trade with Iran. This limited relief was offered in exchange for Iran temporarily limiting its nuclear program while the parties negotiated.

JCPOA vs JPOA

The JCPOA expands upon and makes long term the sanctions relief implemented by the JPOA. The JCPOA also includes a significant delisting of Iran-related SDNs. Again, those are Specially Designated Nationals. SDN delistings were not included as part of the JPOA. These expanded sanctions relief measures are conditioned upon the verification of Iran’s nuclear commitments in the JCPOA by the IAEA.

JPOA After Implementation Day

The JPOA was a temporary agreement designed to encourage the parties to negotiate a long–term, permanent solution to the nuclear impasse between Iran and the rest of the world. The JPOA sanctions relief period ends on Implementation Day and most of it rolls into the sanctions relief envisioned in the JCPOA, post-Implementation Day. The sanctions relief the United States has agreed to are mostly indirect sanctions relief; meaning, the United States has essentially agreed to not place sanctions on other countries conducting business with Iran.