E3/EU+3 EXTENDS IRAN SANCTIONS RELIEF FOR 1 WEEK

The E3/EU+3, comprising China, Russia, France, Germany, the UK, and the United States, have extended sanctions relief on Iran for 1 week until 7 July 2015 in order to continue their negotiations over a comprehensive solution to Iran’s nuclear program, aimed at ensuring its purpose is strictly peaceful.

The relief is set out in the November 2013 Joint Plan of Action (JPOA), and eases US and EU sanctions on Iran’s petrochemical exports, gold, and precious metals, eases US sanctions on Iran’s auto-industry, licences the supply and installation of certain parts and services to Iran’s aviation industry, prohibits further UN, EU, or US nuclear-related sanctions, establishes a financial channel to facilitate humanitarian trade with Iran, and increases the monetary threshold for transactions involving Iran before they have to be authorised.

The US Treasury’s guidance on the extension of sanctions relief is here.  The related EU decision is here.

CANADA IMPOSES NEW SANCTIONS ON RUSSIA AND CRIMEA

Canada has imposed further sanctions on Russia and the Crimea region of Ukraine, following a statement from Prime Minister Stephen Harper that “Until there is real peace, until occupying forces are withdrawn, and until Ukraine’s territorial sovereignty is restored, there must be ongoing consequences for President Putin’s regime”.  Prime Minister Harper also echoed the position set out by world leaders at the recent G7 summit in Germany (see previous blog) that “Russia and its proxies must fully implement their commitments under the Minsk agreements”.

The new sanctions mirror US and EU restrictions on doing business with the Crimea region of Ukraine (see previous blogs here and here), and add 3 people and 14 entities to Canada’s list of persons subject to an asset freeze and with whom it is prohibited to do business.  The additions include the pro-Moscow motorcycle club “Night Wolves” as well as several companies, and bring the total number of designated persons under Canada’s Russia and Ukraine sanctions to 290.

Canada’s new Ukraine regulations are here, and its new Russia regulations are here.

EU IRAN SANCTIONS DE-LISTINGS AND UPDATES

Following a review of the list of people and entities targeted by its Iranian anti-nuclear proliferation sanctions, the EU has deleted the entries of Mahmood Jannatian, CF Sharp & Co, and 7 entities said to be associated with Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines, and has updated the entries for 6 other entities (see previous blog on the re-listing of one of these entities, Naftiran, here).

The changes are made by Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/1001 implementing Council Regulation (EU) 267/2012 and Council Decision (CFSP) 2015/1008 amending Council Decision 2010/413/CFSP.

ECJ DISMISSES APPEAL IN BELARUS IPATAU CASE

We reported in September that the EU General Court had dismissed an action for annulment brought by Mr Ipatau, one of the people listed in the EU’s restrictive measures against Belarus, in Case T-646/11 Ipatau v Council (see blog here). Mr Ipatau was listed for violating international electoral standards in his capacity as Deputy Chairperson of Belarus’ Central Electoral Commission (CEC).

The Court of Justice has now dismissed his appeal, in Case C-535/14 P Ipatau v Council. The Court said the General Court was right to hold that the grounds for Mr Ipatau’s listing were adequate because it had made factual findings that the CEC and Mr Ipatau were responsible for violating electoral standards in the 2010 elections, and had not relied on presumptions that that was so or only on links to other people, and the Council had taken into account the findings of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and compared them with the findings of other institutions such as the Council of Europe.

The Court also upheld the General Court’s findings on rights of the defence and proportionality. The Council had been entitled to make changes to the reasons for Mr Ipatau’s listing in 2012, without hearing him beforehand, because the basis for the new reasons was the same as the previous ones – the applicant’s position as Deputy Chairperson of the CEC.  It also noted that Mr Ipatau had already submitted observations to the Council during regular reviews of the sanctions against Belarus, and so knew that this process was available to him.

RUSSIA EXTENDS BAN ON WESTERN FOOD IMPORTS

Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced that his country’s ban on food imports from the West has been renewed for 1 year until 5 August 2016. The ban prohibits most food imports from the United States, the European Union, Australia, Canada, and Norway, but does not cover wines and spirits, bread, pasta, or cereals.

The announcement follows the European Union’s decision earlier this week to extend its economic sanctions targeting certain transactions with Russia’s financial, energy, and defence sectors and imposing an export ban on dual-use goods (see previous blog).

EU AMENDS REASONS FOR TERRORIST ASSET FREEZES

The EU has amended the statements of reasons for 4 people and 3 entities designated under its counter-terrorist asset freezing sanctions, following receipt of new information.

The amended entries are for:

  1. Abdelkarim al-Nasser
  2. Ibrahim Al Yacoub
  3. Hasan Izz-al-Din
  4. Khalid Shaikh Mohammed
  1. Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
  2. Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command
  3. Fuerzas armadas revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC)

They are listed under Council Regulation (EC) 2580/2001 and Common Position 2001/931/CFSP.  The EU’s notice is here.

EU MAY IMPOSE SANCTIONS ON BURUNDI

The EU’s Foreign Affairs Council warned Burundi in a statement on Monday that the EU “is determined to adopt, if necessary, targeted restrictive measures” against people responsible for acts of violence, repression, or serious human rights violations in the country, following President Nkurunziza’s announcement that he intends to run for a third term. Restrictive measures may also target those who might obstruct the search for a political solution within the framework proposed by the African Union and East African Community. The Council has asked the EU’s High Representative, Federica Mogherini, to begin work preparing a sanctions regime.