The European Union is about to reinstate sanctions against 40 Iranian shipping companies as it turns up the heat against Tehran over its nuclear program.
The European Council sent a letter two weeks ago to the shipping firms’ lawyer Maryam Taher, claiming that the reasons for the intended re-listings included the companies being owned or controlled by the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping lines (IRISL) or for providing training, spare parts and services to IRISL or its employees, Reuters reported.
Taher was cited as saying that the decision to re-list the companies was “purely politically motivated and not based on any proper evidence” that the entities were linked with nuclear proliferation or Iran’s government.
The sanctions were lifted this January when the EU General Court annulled the restrictive measures against an Iranian bank and 40 shipping companies whose assets had been frozen.
The court said that companies linked to IRISL have not been proven to have been involved in supporting nuclear proliferation.
The 40 shipping companies involved in the case include Hamburg-based Ocean Capital Administration GmbH, Kerman Shipping Co. Ltd, Woking Shipping Investments Ltd, established in Valetta, Malta among others.
The sanctions remained in place until the appeal process was over, however; the EU decided to proceed with sanctions.
In February, the EU decided to again blacklist Iran’s largest tanker operator National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC), after the company failed to convince a London Court to prevent the EU from re-imposing sanctions.
The decision to reinstate sanctions comes amid efforts of the global powers to reach a framework agreement with Tehran that would restrict the most sensitive aspects of Iran’s atomic program in return for an easing of international sanctions.
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