Managing-Director of Bank Mellat (the largest private bank in Iran) Ali Divandari announced that his bank has been removed from the European Union’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, the Council of the European Union 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 solicitors firm Zaiwalla & Co solicitors represented Dr 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.