Image: US President Trump announces withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal (JCPOA) on 8 May 2018, from the White House Flickr, at

Recent restrictive measures enacted by the United States against countries such as the Russian Federation and Iran are raising a number of complex international legal issues, all the more since these sanctions regimes purport to have extra-territorial reach, i.e. they apply to, and potentially impact, third countries and third parties not concerned with the dispute for doing business with the target States.

International response and emerging legal challenges

A number of legal challenges to these measures are being considered or are already underway, namely before the International Court of Justice (see Alleged violations of the 1955 Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations, and Consular Rights (Islamic Republic of Iran v. United States of America) – and the imposition of sanctions may lead to a series of litigation and arbitration proceedings.

In Sofia, we saw a show of European unity. As long as the Iranians respect their commitments, the EU will of course stick to the agreement of which it was an architect – an agreement that was unanimously ratified by the United Nations Security Council and which is essential for preserving peace in the region and the world. But the American sanctions will not be without effect. So we have the duty, the Commission and the European Union, to do what we can to protect our European businesses, especially SMEs.

Jean-Claude Juncker, statement of 18 May 2018 in Sofia

What we do

The Public International Law Advisory Group addresses all international legal aspects of international sanctions, from embargoes and economic coercive measures to targeted sanctions. We advise in particular targeted States and businesses on treaty protections, options for judicial review, and issues of international responsibility.


Publication: Arbitration of Disputes Related to Foreign Investments Affected by Unilateral Sanctions

Related Practices

International Sanctions & Embargoes