On 22 January 2015 the General Court handed down its judgment in Bank Tejarat.
Bank Tejarat concerned an application to annul or declare inapplicable certain provisions of Council Decision 2012/35/CFSP, Council Implementing Regulation 54/2012, Council Regulation 267/2012, Council Implementing Regulation 709/2012 and Council Decision 2010/413/CFSP concerning restrictive measures against Iran, in so far as they applied to the said bank. The bank had been listed since 2012 on alleged grounds that it was owned by Iran, had facilitated the country's nuclear efforts, had assisted designated Iranian banks in circumventing international sanctions and had supported the activities of subsidiaries and subordinates of certain designated Iranian organisations.
The General Court held that:
- The plea (lack of legal basis and error of assessment committed by the Council in adopting restrictive measures against the applicant) was upheld. The proposal for the adoption of restrictive measures contained only those allegations relied on in the statement of reasons for the contested measures, and did not substantiate their merits. The Council had not adequately justified its delay in submitting certain relevant evidence to the court. The Council had not submitted information to adequately prove the claimant's support for nuclear proliferation or help given to other entities to breach restrictive measures against them. Moreover, since 2009 the Iranian state was no longer the majority shareholder of the applicant.
- In conclusion, the contested provisions of Council Decision 2012/35/CFSP, Council Implementing Regulation 54/2012, Council Regulation 267/2012 and Council Implementing Regulation 709/2012 were annulled in so far as they concerned the bank.\
- The effects of Council Decision 2010/413/CFSP (i.e. asset freezing) were maintained as regards the bank until the annulment of Regulation 267/2012 and Implementing Regulation 709/2012 would take effect. If the dates when the annulment of Regulation 267/2012 and Implementing Regulation 709/2012 and that of Decision 2010/413 took effect were to differ, that would jeopardise legal certainty since those two acts imposed identical measures on the applicant.