EU court lifts sanctions on several Iranian businesses

EU court lifts sanctions on several Iranian businesses

PanARMENIAN.Net - The EU's top court has ruled that the EU should unfreeze the assets of seven Iranian banks and other businesses hit by sanctions, BBC News said.

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) said there was insufficient evidence that the businesses concerned were involved in nuclear proliferation.

According to Reuters, the ruling covers Post Bank Iran, Iran Insurance Company, Good Luck Shipping, Export Development Bank of Iran, Persia International Bank, Iranian Offshore Engineering and Construction Co and Bank Refah Kargaran.

EU and U.S. sanctions are aimed at curbing Iran's nuclear programme.

Western powers suspect Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons, so they have frozen the assets of various Iranian businesses thought to be linked to that programme.

Iran insists that its nuclear technology is solely intended for civilian uses.

The ECJ ruling will not take immediate effect - the EU governments, jointly called the Council, have two months within which to appeal. So for the time being the asset freeze will remain in place, the court said in a statement.

As the Wall Street Journal reported earlier, Iranian President Hasan Rouhani signaled a possible shift in the nation's nuclear policy by announcing that the Foreign Ministry would take charge of nuclear negotiations with the West.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, a career diplomat who served as ambassador to the United Nations and is known in the West for being moderate and pragmatic, will become the new chief nuclear negotiator.

The Obama administration and European governments greeted Iran's announcement with cautious optimism, with some calling for immediate talks between Iran and the P5+1 group—the permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany.

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