Iran Central Bank, Energy Ministry Appeal EU Nuclear Sanctions

Iran’s central bank and energy ministry challenged beefed-up European Union sanctions over the state’s nuclear program, in appeals together with Iran Liquefied Natural Gas Co., the country’s maiden LNG project, and government-owned National Iranian Tanker Co.

They claimed their rights were violated by the bloc’s October decision to bolster trade curbs on Iran and its finance, energy and transport industries after an oil embargo and a central-bank asset freeze last year, according to filings in the EU’s Official Journal today. The organizations are calling on the EU General Court in Luxembourg to have their names struck off a list of groups targeted by the sanctions.

The Gulf nation’s central bank also claimed that the EU “failed to give adequate or sufficient reasons” for including it in the sanctions, adding that the decision breached its fundamental rights, “including its right to protection of its property, business, and reputation.”

The EU restrictive measures were meant to close loopholes in existing European curbs after global talks on Iranian atomic activities yielded little progress and the Israeli government warned of a growing threat of a nuclear-armed Iran. The Islamic republic has said its atomic program is for civilian purposes.

The nuclear negotiations between Iran and a group of global powers -- the U.S., the U.K., Germany, France, China and Russia -- are scheduled to resume tomorrow in Kazakhstan after an eight-month lapse. Three rounds of earlier discussions ended last June without an agreement.

Asset Freeze

EU foreign ministers froze the assets of 34 Iranian entities to hinder the Iranian government’s ability to raise funds for its atomic program, which the U.S. and EU say is aimed at producing weapons.

Iran has increased production of 20 percent enriched uranium and grew its stockpile of low-enriched uranium, the International Atomic Energy Agency said on Aug. 30. Highly enriched uranium can be used to produce electricity or to manufacture an atomic bomb.

The cases are: T-563/12, Central Bank of Iran v. Council, T-564/12; Ministry of Energy of Iran v Council; T-565/12, National Iranian Tanker Company v. Council; T-5/13, Iran Liquefied Natural Gas v. Council.

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