New Cases by the EU General Court Striking Down Iran Sanctions Listings

I just wanted to draw attention to several cases recently decided by the EU General Court in which EU sanctions against designated individuals and businesses allegedly connected to Iran’s nuclear program have been annulled.  These are just the latest in a growing line of cases in both the EU General Court and the European Court of Justice reaching similar decisions regarding EU sanctions targeting Iran’s nuclear program, which are essentially attempts to implement UN Security Council sanctions against Iran. I’ve written about this issue before on a couple of occasions.  The EU Sanctions Blog has a great run down of the three recent cases here, here and here.  I’m particularly pleased to note that the Sharif University of Technology was represented in its case by my friend Matthew Happold.  See the text of the court’s judgment in this case here.  Congratulations to Matt and to the University.

In terms of the legal merits of these cases, they really are just a continuation of the same bases on which earlier cases in this line have been decided. Basically the EU courts are requiring the EU and state governments to provide evidence on which the sanctions are based, and the governments involved are refusing to do so. Thus, as a basic matter of due process, the court has decided that the sanctions cannot stand on a lack of proffered evidence.  A very sound holding in my view.

Hopefully, of course, the current round of P5+1 negotiations with Iran will produce a comprehensive agreement before the July 20 deadline, and this will lead to these EU sanctions being repealed, as part of a normalization of relations between Iran and the West.  I think it is reasonable to expect that both the UN Security Council and the EU will be willing and able to withdraw the sanctions they have imposed against Iran over the past ten years, pursuant to such a comprehensive diplomatic agreement (as long as the US administration chooses to at least not veto such a decision by the UNSC). I have just about zero confidence, however, that the US government will be able to implement meaningful sanctions relief promised under such a comprehensive agreement.  As I’ve said before, I think the biggest impediment to implementing a comprehensive agreement between Iran and the West over Iran’s nuclear program is the US Congress.

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7 Comments on “New Cases by the EU General Court Striking Down Iran Sanctions Listings”

  1. yousaf says:

    Looks like EU has to pay Sharif University’s costs also.

    http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?text=&docid=154526&pageIndex=0&doclang=en&mode=req&dir=&occ=first&part=1&cid=352353

    “Orders the Council of the European Union to bear its own costs and to pay the costs of Sharif University of Technology.”

    Can they get the money with sanctions on financial transactions in place?

  2. yousaf says:

    It’s too bad that the UNSC’s sanctions are not subject to a legal test.

    Else they would fail also.

    Ditto for US sanctions.

    We already saw how great the evidence against Iran is:

    https://armscontrollaw.com/2014/06/17/what-is-the-quality-of-scientific-evidence-against-iran/

    • Nick says:

      Great points guys.

      Dan is absolutely right about the Congress lack of appetite for any meaningful enrichment Iran.

      So I don’t know how Burns and Sherman respond to Zarif and his team when they repeatedly bring up this issue in their meetings for dropping all the US unilateral sanctions?

      • Cyrus says:

        There are a variety of spins that they use — they claim that they will “allow” Iran the enrichmnt that they think Iran needs, and that they’re not really demading that Iran “give up” enrichment, rather that Iran “suspend” enrichment…indefinitely, until the US says otherwise.
        All of which of course is just pure baloney.

        What they don’t want to recognize is that Iran’s nuclear program is massively popular, and that Iranians have a long history of resentment against one-sided internationa agreements that robbed Iran of her sovereignty and rights, going back to the Turkamenchai deal and the Tobacco Concessions. They don’t seem to understand that the Iranian govt operates in an Iranian social/political context and has to answer to public opinion at home … OR, they’re making these demands on Iran specifically to (once again) torpedo the talks and try to paint Iran as “intransigent” for not giving into illegal US demands. This sadly seems to be the case. It was all yet another set-up, and the US was never going to accept a “yes” — just as in the Turkey/Brazil fiasco.

      • Cyrus says:

        BTW folks, lets remember that Iran similarly suspended enrichment as part of the Paris Agreement negotiations, for what was supposed to be just 3 months but was dragged out to 3 years when the EU-3 dragged their feet in making their “offer” to Iran — and when they finally did, they included the demand that Iran abandon enrichment contrary to all the assurances they had provided that they would NOT make such a demand. Subsequent disclosures showed that the EU3 were negotiating in bad faith with Iran, and that the Brits had already assured the US that they would NOT recognize Iran’s right to enrich contrary to what they were telling the Iranians. Peter Osborne has written about this http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iran/10007603/Iran-how-the-West-missed-a-chance-to-make-peace-with-Tehran.html

        That fiasco was one main factor why Ahmadinejad won and why the reformists had to sit back. They had cost Iran 3 years of progress, with nothing to show for it.

        If they try this again, the reformists can start packing


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