The European Union (EU)'s top court has thrown out sanctions imposed against eight Iranian banks and companies for their alleged ties to Iran’s nuclear energy program, media reports said.
On Friday, the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg ruled that there was not sufficient evidence to justify the unilateral sanctions imposed by the bloc on the Iranian entities, AP reported.
Late in January, Managing-Director of Bank Mellat (the largest private bank in Iran) Ali Divandari announced that his bank has been removed from the EU's sanctions list.
"After two and a half years of intensive legal work to remove the sanctions, the court declared a ruling in support of Bank Mellat," Divandari said.
In August 2012, the Council of the EU reversed its decision for imposing sanctions against Divandari after the latter party filed a complaint at international bodies and sued the EU over its illegal action.
A London-based Indian solicitor firm Zaiwalla & Co solicitor represented Divandari's case in the European Court of Justice to challenge the legality of the sanctions.
Bank Mellat has been fighting US accusations of involvement in confidential financial activities to help fund Iran's nuclear activities.
The EU Council had listed Dr Divandari in the designated list in July 2010 on the basis that it was a legitimate part of its regime of sanctions designed to stop Iranian nuclear program. He was at the time Chairman of Bank Mellat.
The Council had designated the Bank Mellat and it considered it to be involved in Iran's attempts to develop a nuclear program and then went a step further, said Zaiwalla, by deciding to personally designate the Bank's chairperson too on the basis of his job title.
Both the bank and Dr Divandari challenged the sanctions in the European Courts. After a long process, both were finally given a hearing before the General Court of the European Union in May 2012. Both parties presented their cases and argued that it was not lawful to impose sanctions against private sector institutions or their employees. Iran's private sector has no role to play in the acts of the Iranian state, they argued.
Washington and its western allies accuse Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons under the cover of a civilian nuclear program, while they have never presented any corroborative evidence to substantiate their allegations. Iran denies the charges and insists that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.
Tehran stresses that the country has always pursued a civilian path to provide power to the growing number of Iranian population, whose fossil fuel would eventually run dry.
Despite the rules enshrined in the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) entitling every member state, including Iran, to the right of uranium enrichment, Tehran is now under four rounds of UN Security Council sanctions for turning down West's calls to give up its right of uranium enrichment.
Tehran has dismissed west's demands as politically tainted and illogical, stressing that sanctions and pressures merely consolidate Iranians' national resolve to continue the path.
The Islamic Republic says that it considers its nuclear case closed as it has come clean of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)'s questions and suspicions about its past nuclear activities.