News / Europe

EU May Re-impose Sanctions on Iran Ship Line Despite Court Order

FILE - Empty and disused Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL Group) containers are seen at Malta Freeport in the Port of Marsaxlokk outside Valletta.
FILE - Empty and disused Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL Group) containers are seen at Malta Freeport in the Port of Marsaxlokk outside Valletta.
Reuters
European governments have taken preliminary steps to re-impose sanctions against Iran's main cargo shipping line, potentially complicating a new diplomatic push to settle the dispute over Tehran's nuclear program.
 
Diplomats told Reuters the governments had agreed this week to send letters to Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) and some of its subsidiaries to inform them of their intention.
 
The decision, not yet final, is part of a broader EU effort to counter a number of court rulings annulling European sanctions such as these ones in recent months.
 
“We will give notice to the companies that if they have information that would affect the decision, they should submit it. It is a notice,” one EU source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
 
The source said the EU would use any response from the targeted companies to decide how to formulate new sanctions, which would freeze the company's assets in Europe.
 
Governments in Europe and the United States had targeted hundreds of Iranian companies such as IRISL, accusing them of aiding Tehran's nuclear program which they suspect has covert military aims and which they want curbed.
 
But Europe's second-highest General Court has argued in some cases, including the one related to IRISL, that the EU failed to provide sufficient evidence linking the companies to Iran's nuclear work to justify sanctions and ordered them lifted.
 
Iran denies having any military goals and says it needs nuclear power for electricity generation and medical purposes.
 
Diplomats in Brussels are keen to portray any possible new listings of previously targeted companies as a technical issue, not a new push to increase economic pressure on Iran, and stress that final decisions have not yet been taken.

Nuclear negotiations
 
The timing of any sanctions decision is sensitive. Six world powers - the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany - and Iran have started a new series of negotiations this month.
 
Tehran has signaled new willingness to compromise over its nuclear work since the relative moderate President Hassan Rouhani took office in August but it wants sanctions lifted as part of any deal.
 
A new round of talks is scheduled for November 7-8 in Geneva, and the EU in its letter to IRISL is asking for feedback before November 5.
 
The EU has in the past appealed against cases of sanctions that have been quashed, for example after the General Court overturned sanctions on Bank Mellat and Bank Saderat, among the biggest private lenders in Iran, earlier this year.
 
But diplomats say a growing body of litigation makes it difficult to find legal bases for appeals, complicating Europe's effort to exert economic pressure on Iran.
 
“There is no chance for the appeals to win,” one EU diplomat told Reuters.
 
Policymakers say they cannot provide detailed proof of the plaintiffs' alleged links to Iran's atomic program to better justify sanctions because doing so may expose confidential intelligence and damage efforts to combat the activities.
 
Hundreds of Iranian institutions and companies such as IRISL face EU sanctions such as asset freezes. In addition, the EU has banned imports of Iranian oil and restricted trade.
 
Other solutions, such as targeting entire sectors of the Iranian economy, are also under discussion. But some EU governments would oppose that, concerned about punishing companies not involved in atomic work.

You May Like

N. Korea Sentences American to 6 Years Hard Labor

Matthew Miller's brief trial Sunday comes two weeks after 24-year old Miller and two other American detainees appealed to the US government to help free them More

Pakistan Rejects Afghan Criticism of 480-kilometer Border Trench

Military spokesman tells VOA the project is part of administrative and security measures taken to secure the mountainous border with Afghanistan More

Photogallery Typhoon Kalmaegi Makes Landfall in Philippines

Storm makes landfall late Sunday, cutting power and communications lines and forcing people to flee to higher ground More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interesti
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 12, 2014 8:35 PM
The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video Palestinians Turn to Rebuilding Gaza

After almost two months of conflict in Gaza, Palestinians are preparing to rebuild the isolated Mediterranean enclave with assistance from abroad. Meanwhile, an international human rights group has found that Israel likely violated international laws of war during some of its attacks on Gaza. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Middle Eastern Church Leaders Highlight Christians’ Plight

Patriarchs of Eastern Rite churches came to Washington this week to draw attention to the attacks against Christians in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East. VOA’s religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid