Documents considered by the Committee on 26 November 2014 - European Scrutiny Committee Contents

7 Iran Sanctions

Committee's assessment Legally and politically important
Committee's decisionNot cleared from scrutiny; further information requested
Document detailsCouncil Decision 2014/776 amending Decision 2010/413 concerning restrictive measures against Iran
Legal baseArticle 29 TEU and Article 23 of Decision 2010/413; unanimity

Document number

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

(36504), —

Summary and Committee's conclusions

7.1 Decision 2014/413 sets out a range of restrictive measure against Iran in response to its nuclear programme. Its Annexes list the individuals and entities subject to these measures, with the reasons for their listing.

7.2 This Decision, adopted on 7 November, adjusts those Annexes by relisting one individual and three entities whose previous listings had been annulled by judgments of the General Court of the European Union, either for breach of the right of defence or because the reasons for the original listing were inadequate. The Decision also updates the reasons for listing a further three entities and removes from the list another entity which was listed on the grounds that it was a front company for another entity whose listing was struck down by the General Court on 28 November 2013.

7.3 We note that the General Court judgments in the cases brought by Babak Sanjani,[17] Sorinet Commercial Trust Bankers[18] and Sharif University of Technology[19] maintained the restrictive measures in effect against these entities for further short periods pending appeal and that these periods appear to have expired before the adoption of this Decision. In a recent similar situation the Council replaced a restrictive measure before the restrictive measures lapsed.[20] We ask the Minister (Mr David Lidington) to confirm whether the restrictive measures against these entities did indeed lapse; if so why it was not possible to adopt this Decision before this happened; and whether any gap in the restrictive measures has led to adverse consequences.

7.4 The underlying reason for the listing of Arya Niroo Nik was removed by a General Court judgment of 28 November 2013. We ask for an explanation for the delay in delisting this entity and whether this delay has created any risk of action against the Council.

7.5 The Committee normally accepts that restrictive measures must be adopted without previous Parliamentary scrutiny in order to prevent the entity concerned having prior notice of the measures. In this case this risk did not arise at all in respect of the entities whose details were merely updated, nor in the case of the entity delisted. In respect of the entities relisted there could, theoretically, have been a risk of damage from a tip-off. However we should be grateful if the Minister could indicate the extent to which, there was, in practice, any risk of significant damage such as to make a scrutiny override unavoidable.

7.6 We retain this matter under scrutiny pending a response from the Minister.

Full details of the document: Council Decision 2014/776/CFSP of 7 November 2014 amending Decision 2010/413/CFSP concerning restrictive measures against Iran: (36504),—.

The Explanatory Memorandum of 17 November 2014

7.7 The Minister for Europe explains that Decision 2014/776 relists three entities (Sina Bank, Sorinet Commercial Trust Bankers and Sharif University of Technology) and one individual (Babak Zanjani) on new grounds with amended Statements of Reasons, after their listings were annulled at the EU General Court in June and July 2014. The Council Decision also delists an entity, Arya Niroo Nik, and updates the information for three other listed entities (Power Plants' Equipment Manufacturing Company, Naftiran Intertrade Company (NICO) and Naftiran Intertrade Company Srl).

7.8 In relation to the relistings he provides the following further detail:

    "In keeping with the Joint Plan of Action agreed between the E3+3 and Iran in November 2013, the bulk of EU and US sanctions remain in place until we reach a comprehensive settlement with Iran. Iran must remain motivated to engage on negotiating a comprehensive agreement. We are continuing to enforce existing sanctions rigorously, including through revised designations.

    "The EU Council's decision to relist Babak Zanjani, Sina Bank, Sorinet Commercial Trust Bankers and Sharif University of Technology was made on the basis of further evidence submitted to the EU Council. The EU Council reviewed this evidence and reached agreement that the individual and entities should be listed on new grounds. Sharif University of Technology was listed for providing support to the Government of Iran in the form of 'a significant record of engagement…in military or military-related fields'. The individual and other three entities were listed for providing financial support to the Government of Iran.

    "These relistings are not new pressure. We are clear that these designation measures are a crucial part of maintaining consistent pressure on the Iranian Government Where the Courts have given a judgment/direction, it is right that the EU responds appropriately to emerging case law when applying designation criteria."

7.9 The Minister indicates that the updates concern either the name (in one case - Power Plants' Equipment Manufacturing Company (Saakhte Tajhizate Niroogahi) or the contact details (in respect of all three).

7.10 In respect of the delisting he comments that the reasons for listing Arya Niroo Nik were that it was 'a front company used by Fulmen for some of its operation'. The listing of Fulmen was struck down by the Court of Justice of the European Union on 28 November 2013 (Case C-280/12 P). The EU Council therefore decided that there were no longer grounds to list Arya Niroo Nik, and so it has been delisted.

The Minister's Letter of 17 November 2014

7.11 In his letter the Minister confirms that he takes his responsibility to keep the Committee informed on issues concerning Iran sanctions seriously but on this occasion an override of scrutiny was unavoidable.

Previous Committee Reports


17   T-155/13. Back

18   T-157/13. Back

19   T-181/13. Back

20   See Fifteenth Report HC 219-xv (2014-15), chapter 12 (22 October 2014). Back

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Prepared 10 December 2014