|EU court overturns ban on Iran’s Sharif University||
TEHRAN – The European Union’s second highest court has overturned the EU’s decision to blacklist Iran’s Sharif University of Technology over alleged sanctions violations, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.
The decision by the EU General Court is the latest defeat the bloc has suffered as it seeks to uphold dozens of decisions in recent years to impose asset freezes and travel bans on hundreds of individuals and companies in Iran and a number of other countries.
The defeat was caused in part by repeated demands by the court for more detailed evidence, diplomats have said.
In many cases, member states have refused to provide confidential evidence to the judges because the court’s rules mean some of that information has to be made available to lawyers for those appealing the sanctions.
In the case of Sharif University, the EU had imposed an asset freeze for “providing support to Iran’s proliferation of sensitive nuclear activities.” The EU claimed the university provided laboratories for use by two firms sanctioned by the United Nations and the EU, respectively.
“The General Court considers that the council committed a manifest error of assessment and failed to discharge the burden of proof which rests on it,” the court said in a news release.
The court said the bloc sent documents justifying the university’s listing after the permitted date and that the documents “contain no information or material which adds anything to” the case against the university. The court said the EU member state which proposed listing the university opposed sharing a confidential document to back up the claim.
“There is nothing to support the claims that SUT assisted the entities…to violate the restrictive measures adopted against Iran, or provided direct support to Iranian nuclear activities,” the court said.
The court said it would give the European Council two months before lifting the asset freeze. That could allow the EU to sanction the university on different grounds.
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