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

    Syrian Torture Victim Recounts Horrors

    'You make them think you have surrendered' says Jalal Nofal, a doctor who was jailed and survived repeated interrogations in Syria

    Mandela’s Millions Paid to Heirs, But Who Gets His Country Home?

    Saga around $3 million estate of country's first democratic president is far from over as Winnie Mandela’s fight for home overshadows payouts

    Guess Which Beach is 'Best in the US'?

    Hawaii’s Hanauma Bay tops an annual "top 10" list compiled by a coastal scientist, also known as Doctor Beach

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese Americans for Trump Going Against National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese Americans for Trump Going Against National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora