Iran sanctions 101
US sanctions on Iran began in 1979, following the Iranian hostage crisis. The first sanctions banned Iranian products other than small gifts, informational materials, food, and “some carpets,” according to Reuters. The UN and EU have since come down with sanctions themselves and broadened their scope. Here's a recap of the sanctions Iran faces now.
Oil and trade
In 1995 President Clinton issued an executive order that banned US companies from investing in Iranian oil and gas or from trading with Iran, according to Reuters. Roughly 20 Iranian petroleum and petrochemical companies were identified as being under Iranian government control and off limits for US companies. In 2010, the US imposed penalties on foreign companies providing Iran with more than $5 million worth of refined petroleum a year effectively banning them from doing business in the US as well. Other sanctions in 2010 put the squeeze on energy companies.
Venezuela’s decision to trade with Iran prompted American sanctions on oil companies in Latin America’s oil powerhouse as well.
In March 2008, the UN requested that countries inspect cargo carried to and from Iran in planes and ships owned or operated by IranAir Cargo and the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Line. It also expanded a partial ban on civilian and military trade “to cover sales of all such technology to Iran,” according to Reuters.
European Union measures approved in 2010 bar cargo flights to and from Iran. Later that year, the EU toughened its sanctions on Iran, including a ban on business partnerships with Iranian businesses tied to the oil and has industries and on providing insurance to the Iranian government.
The 2010 sanctions also forbade the sale and supply of energy equipment and technology used in the refinement and exploration of natural gas.
Source: Reuters Factbox