Advocate General Mengozzi has published his opinion stating that the European Court of Justice should in his view uphold the General Court’s judgment of 2 June 2016 (see previous blog) rejecting Bank Mellat’s challenge in case T-160/13 to the non-targeted parts of the EU’s former Iran sanctions regime. Link to his (non-binding) opinion is here.
Bank Mellat was seeking to challenge not the targeted asset freeze on it (on which it succeeded – see previous blog), but the wider restrictions on Iranian banks that had been imposed by EU sanctions pre-JCPOA. The General Court had held some of the application inadmissible on jurisdictional grounds. Other aspects were admissible but rejected on the grounds that the restrictions had a valid legal basis and were proportionate.
The Advocate General’s view is that the bank’s appeal is inadmissible because the sanctions under challenge were lifted by the JCPOA on 16 January 2016. In any event he considers that all the grounds of appeal against the General Court judgment should be dismissed, save that it erred in not having considered the effects of the JCPOA. The next step will be the final judgment of the Court of Justice.