My honourable friend the Economic Secretary to the Treasury (Ed Balls) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
The Government are strongly supportive of international efforts to tackle the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and to prevent the abuse of financial systems. My Written Ministerial Statement of 7 February informed Parliament that the Government were seeking the agreement of the Privy Council for the adoption of an Order in Council concerned with giving effect to the financial sanctions against Iran's nuclear programme as required by UNSCR 1737. The Iran (Financial Sanctions) Order 2007 was laid before Parliament on 8 February and came into force on 9 February.
On 19 April, the European Union adopted EC Regulation No 423/2007. This regulation implements at a Community level the sanctions against Iran agreed under UNSCR 1737. It also establishes an autonomous EU financial sanctions list against entities and individuals associated with Iran's nuclear and ballistic missile programmes. The regulation came into force on 20 April and is directly applicable in the UK. Council decision 2007/242/EC establishing the autonomous EU financial sanctions list came into force on 24 April.
In order to enforce the financial sanctions elements of EC Regulation No. 423/2007, the Government are today laying before the Parliament the Iran (European Community Financial Sanctions) Regulations 2007. These establish prohibitions, offences and penalties with regard to persons who are on the autonomous EU financial sanctions list in relation to Iran. The Iran (Financial Sanctions) Order 2007 continues to apply with regard to persons who are on the UN financial sanctions list in relation to Iran.
As set out in the Explanatory Memorandum to the regulations, it is necessary that the regulations come into force as soon as possible in order to minimise the risk of asset flight. For this reason, the Government consider it necessary to waive the usual convention that there should be at least a 21-day period between regulations being laid and coming into force. Accordingly, the regulations will come into force tomorrow.