Dovetailing last week’s decision by the European General Court that Iran’s Bank Mellat be removed from the European Union’s sanctions list (see last week’s entry on this blog), the court on Tuesday declared that Bank Saderat should similarly be removed. Reports emerged today that the Court opined that the EU did not have enough evidence to support the position that Bank Saderat is involved in Iran’s alleged pursuit of nuclear weapons. Notably Bank Saderat is considered Iran’s largest bank.
Is everything back to normal? No. Saderat is not off the hook. Reports say that the EU have two months to appeal, and it remains whether there any over-arching EU regulations prohibiting the actions of Iranian banks would still put a damper on Saderat’s ability to transact business in the European Union. That said, if for some reason Bank Saderat is allowed to once again operate effectively in Europe it could enable Iran to purchase necessary goods and can also fuel personal transfers to and from Iran, such as family remittances, etc. By removing a barrier to entry for funds transfer in Iran the EU could also be indirectly fueling the rapid decline of the Rial’s value.
In other news, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today announced that a number of Iranian entities such as the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), the head of the IRIB, and the Iranian Cyber Police were added to the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list. OFAC also published a guideline on issues related to rendering humanitarian assistance to Iran. This is arguably a very necessary document as the industry is wrought with misunderstanding about what laws do and do permit, preventing a number of [legally authorized] transactions from taking place due to overly cautious private sector entities who either don’t know the law, don’t care to parse through the law, or are just afraid of anything related to Iran.