U.S. Sanctions Should Not Stop EU Business with Iran, EU Court Adviser Says

May 12, 2021

Author: 

Robin Emmott

Publication: 

Reuters

Related Country: 

  • European Union
  • Germany
  • Luxembourg

Advocate General Gerard Hogan, an official at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, said in a nonbinding opinion that an EU company may not legally stop doing business with an Iranian company if the EU company acted solely out of concern of being affected by U.S. sanctions on Iran. The opinion was a response to a request for advice from judges who were hearing a case in German courts. A German company, Telekom Deutschland, terminated a contract with Bank Melli, an Iranian financial institution that has a branch office in Hamburg, in response to the reimposition of U.S. sanctions on Iran in 2018, leading Bank Melli to file a lawsuit. Hogan stated that Iranian companies should have the ability to invoke an EU blocking statute that prohibits EU companies from complying with U.S. sanctions. He added that the statute obliges EU companies to explain their decisions to end commercial relations with U.S.-sanctioned Iranian companies. The reach of U.S. secondary sanctions has been a point of contention between the European Union and the United States.