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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More