The EU General Court [official website] on Friday annulled [press release, PDF] sanctions imposed upon eight Iranian banks and companies, finding them unjustified. The 28-nation group has frozen assets and banned travel since 2010 for Iranian citizens thought to be linked to the nation's nuclear development. Citing insufficient evidence, the EU court nullified the sanctions on select companies and banks because the governments of the 28 nations did not "properly establish that they had provided support for nuclear proliferation." The court has stated that the sanctions will remain in place for two months to allow for an appeal. If any EU government files an appeal, the sanctions will remain in place until the final ruling. The EU's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton [official website], also announced Friday that she plans to meet with Tehran's negotiator in hope of building friendlier relations and relieving the tension in Iran's continued quest for atomic weapons.
Iran has been no stranger to sanctions in recent years. Leaders of the country have repeatedly claimed that its nuclear program was developed for peaceful purposes, but several members of the international community contend that Iran's enrichment program was designed for military purposes. In February 2012 the US imposed sanctions [JURIST report] on Iran due to the misleading practices of Iranian banks. Many, however, viewed this action as an attempt to convince Iran to disassemble its nuclear program by placing a strain on its already struggling economy. In 2010, The UN Security Council voted to impose a fourth round of sanctions [JURIST report] on Iran for failure to disband the nation's uranium enrichment program. In December 2006, the UN Security Council imposed sanctions on Iran for continuing to enrich uranium and broadened them [JURIST reports] three months later. The UN had previously ordered Iran to stop expanding [JURIST report] its nuclear program by August 31, 2006. Iran stated it would completely withdraw [JURIST report] from the International Atomic Energy Agency if its "nuclear rights" were taken away.