The House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee this week considered an EU Council Decision to relist Gholam Golparvar and National Iranian Tanker Company on the EU’s restrictive measures against Iranian nuclear proliferation. Their original listings were annulled by the General Court (see previous blogs here and here), and the High Court refused to grant an injunction preventing their relisting (see blog here). Both parties made submissions to the Committee objecting to their relisting, and the Committee has decided to retain the Decision under scrutiny pending a review of how the matter has been handled by the Government.
In a published statement, the Committee states that it asked the Minister for Europe, David Lidington MP, to explain why he could not provide it with open source information used to justify the relistings and to provide assurances that they were “robust and could withstand legal challenge”. The Minister said the relistings are “proportionate, adequately supported by open-source evidence, and consistent with Government policy towards Iran”. The Committee considers that this “falls short of the confirmation he was invited to give”, and “strongly doubt that the Council or Government will be able to enforce the confidentiality of open source material or sustain it if challenged”. It notes that “In supporting the adoption of the relistings at Council, the Minister overrode scrutiny”, and they “do not accept that the override was unavoidable or justifiable”. The Decision is “characterised by mistakes and omissions” and the Committee has asked for the handling of the matter to be reviewed.