EU Court Orders End to Sanctions on Iran Oil Shipping Company

EU Insists They’re Going to Keep Trying to Sanction Them

After the deadline for appeal to a July ruling lapsed, the General Court of the European Union has once again ordered that the block immediately lift all sanctions on the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC).

IranNITC is the largest oil tanker company in Iran, and successfully challenged EU sanctions on the grounds that they are a private company owned by a privately-run pension company, not a state-run entity covered by sanctions on the Iranian government.

The court gave the EU 90 days to appeal, which they insisted they planned on doing, but which they never actually did. Despite this, EU officials insist they will continue to try to find ways to keep NITC on the blacklist.

Doing so seems like it’s going to be difficult, however, with the company having already decisively won their court challenge. The missing of the appeal deadline does not appear to have been an oversight, either, but rather a reflection of the lack of any basis to appeal.

by Jason Ditz

Russia Warns Sanctions Could Backfire on US, EU

Much of Western Bailout Likely to Wind Up in Russian Hands Anyhow

As Western officials continue to ratchet up threats for sanctions on Russia, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned that the move could “boomerang” and hit the sanctioners, particularly in the European Union, much harder than Russia itself.

lavrovLavrov warned the US push for sanctions was “poorly thought out,” a comment that reflects EU concerns about the plan as well, since many EU nations are highly dependent on Russian natural gas.

The natural gas concern has fueled calls for the US to open up its exporting of gas, though the White House downplayed that prospect, and says that they are several years away from allowing significant exports of natural gas.

Ironically, Western officials that have been pledging billions of dollars to bail out the Ukraine economy in the wake of regime change are going to be finding a lot of that money going to Russia to pay bills owed to major Russian companies. Gazprom alone is owed nearly $2 billion for natural gas shipments to the Ukraine.

Proximity and historical ties make Russia by far the most important business partner for the Ukraine, though the recent protest movement has caused many Russian companies to dramatically reduce the estimated value of their business there.

by Jason Ditz

Obama Threatens Sanctions on France Over Iran Trade

Vows to Come Down on Companies ‘Like a Ton of Bricks’

Meeting with French President Francois Hollande today, President Obama vowed to cement the “forever friendship” between France and the United States. Then came the threats.

Last_Year_President_Obama_Reportedly-92cca9da9766cdb4b5c64d5d5f629ad5The threats to France centered around similar ones from Secretary of State John Kerry recently, that French businessmen have recently been making contacts in Iran in anticipation of the easing of sanctions.

Though easing sanctions were part of the P5+1 interim deal with Iran, and even more could be expected with a final Iran deal, US officials have been keen to downplay any improvement in ties with Iran, and have been warning companies against trying to make deals with Iranian companies.

President Hollande insisted that the companies are free to make contacts and hadn’t actually violated any sanctions, but President Obama’s pointed threats made it clear he disputes that.

Obama said any companies or nations having contact with Iran did so “at their own peril” and vowed to “come down like a ton of bricks” on them for doing so.

by Jason Ditz

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