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Information on exporting strategic goods to Iran.

Current Situation

An arms embargo is in force on Iran. The embargo includes dual use items which could be used in the development of nuclear weapon and missile delivery systems. The embargoes are imposed by both the UN and EU and implemented in UK law.

NOTE: This page outlines relevant information about the arms embargo only. See the link to other restrictions for more information about other potential sanctions.


Implications for exporters

Extent of the embargo

An arms embargo is a ban on the export of "arms and related material" (ie military ammunition, weapons and goods) imposed by either the UN (United Nations), European Union (EU), Organisation on Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

The UK interprets this as covering all goods and items on the UK Military List.

Additionally some goods which are not on the UK Military List might also need an export licence. See more details about the Military End-Use Control.

Iran List (of Organisations)

The "Iran List" provides a listing of organisations in either in Iran of potential concern. If any exporter is proposing to export to, or is contacted by, any of those organisations, they should contact the ECO for specific advice.

Iran Sanctions - Dual-Use Items Lists

The sanctions regulations against Iran specifically list dual-use items which are either 'prohibited' or 'licensable'. For ease of reference, direct links to the current regulations and associated relevant lists are provided as follows:

The restrictions on items in this category are prohibited unless the United Nations Sanctions Committee had determined in advance on a case-by-case basis that the transaction would not contribute to the development of technologies in support of Iran’s proliferation sensitive nuclear activities, nor the development of nuclear weapon delivery systems.

A licence must not be granted if the UK government “determine” that the items would contribute to:

  1. Iran’s enrichment-related, reprocessing or heavy water-related activities;
  2. The development of nuclear weapons delivery systems by Iran;
  3. The pursuit by Iran of activities related to other topics about which the IAEA has expressed concerns or identified as outstanding.

Applying for a Licence

Exporters can apply for an export control licence for their goods. All applications will be considered by the Government on a case by case basis in line with the provisions of the Consolidated Criteria for UK and EU Arms Exports. See more details about Licence Decision Making.

For more details about applications see the Licences page. All licence applications should be made via the SPIRE website.

Exporters can also make a rating request for clarification on whether their goods are licensable. More information is available about the Rating Enquiry Service.

In applying and using any licence, exporters should be aware of their responsibilities. More information is accessible on the Compliance and Enforcement pages.


More Details

Further information is available in the following Notice to Exporters:

Keep updated with the latest changes to Sanctions and Embargoes by Joining the ECO Mailing List.


Key Legislation (Background)


UN Security Council Resolutions

UN Resolution 1737 was adopted by the Security Council in December 2006. This embargo imposed a ban on the export to and import from Iran of certain technologies relating to nuclear weapons and missiles. This resolution has subsequently been extended, amended and modified by Resolution 1747 which extends the export ban to all arms and related material.  Most recently the UN has imposed SCR 1803 (2008) which further extends the embargo.  

To access copies of any relevant UN Resolutions see the:


EU Legislation

The Council of the European Union implemented UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1737 by means of EC Regulation 423/2007 in February 2007. The regulation has subsequently been extended, amended and modified by Council Regulation 2007/246/CFSP of April 2007.

An amending Regulation (EC) No.618/2007 which implements Common Position 2007/246/CFSP which in turn implements the second UNSCR1747 on Iran has now been adopted and entered into force on 6 June 2007. This Regulation amends EC Reg 423/2007.

On 28th February 2008, the EC Reg 423/2007 was amended further by Commission Regulation (EC) No.116/2008. See the Notice to Exporters NTE200804 which details the changes.

On 10th November 2008 further restrictions and amendments to EC Reg 423/2007 were adopted in the form of Council Regulation (EC) No.1110/2008. Further details are available in NTE200821.

On 15th December 2009 further restrictions were made to the EC Reg 423/2007 and adopted in the form of Councial Regulation (EU) No 1228/2009. Further details are available in NTE201006.


To access copies of any relevant and latest updates to EU legislation see the:


UK Legislation

The UK has had a national arms embargo in place on Iran since March 1993.

The relevant statutory instruments implemented in UK law are:

  • Export Control Order 2008 (SI 2008/3231)

    • Iran is a destination listed in this Order under Schedule 4, Part 1 (Countries and Destinations subject to stricter export of trade controls)
  • The Export Control (Iran) Oder 2007 (SI 2007/1526)
  • The Export Control (Iran) (Amendment) Order 2007(SI 2007/2170) 
    • This is national legislation to provide for licensing, enforcement and penalty provisions in respect of EU Regulation which came into force 27 July 2007.
  • The Export Control (Iran) (Amendment) Order 2008 (SI 2008/3063)
  • The Export Control (Iran) (Amendment) Order 2010 (SI 2009/144) 

See more information about the Orders made under the Export Control Act.

To access copies of any UK legislation see the:



Other Restrictions

Iran is also subject to other sanctions including a ban on certain investment, ban on new commitments for grants, financial assistance and concessional loans to the Government of Iran and list of targeted persons and entities. See further information on financial sanctions on Iran (HM Treasury website) and Iran sanctions information (FCO website).



Export Control Organisation

Updated: 5 February 2010

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