EU lifts sanctions on Iranian mining firm Iralco

Published September 17th, 2015 - 12:56 GMT

The General Court of the European Union has annulled the sanctions listing of the Iranian Aluminum Company (Iralco), Iran’s top state-owned holding company in the mining sector says. 

The Luxembourg-based court voted to remove Iralco from the list of entities subject to asset freeze, the public relations office of the Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation (IMIDRO) said in a statement.

The ruling by the second-highest court in the EU, however, is typically suspended for two months pending appeals by the European Council.

Several Iranian companies have successfully had sanctions against them annulled recently after EU's failure to appeal against the General Court ruling ordering the measures to be lifted.

The latest were two Iranian companies operating in the oil, gas and petrochemical sectors, removed from the EU list of entities subject to asset freeze in July.

As many as 15 Iranian firms in the mines and mining industries sector are awaiting removal from the EU list of sanctions, the Tasnim news agency said.

According to Tasnim, the General Court started examining Iralco’s appeal against the sanctions and accusations of links to Iran’s nuclear energy program in early 2015.  

Iranian companies argue that the European Council made an error of assessment. The council has often failed to produce evidence for its accusations that the Iranian companies helped the government dodge sanctions or were linked to the country’s nuclear program.

Iralco, based in Arak, is the biggest producer of aluminum in Iran and listed on the Tehran Stock Exchange. Its major partners in Europe are Switzerland-based Trafigura and Glencore which have supplied thousands of tons of alumina to the Iranian company in return for aluminum.

The two companies got a boost in August after Switzerland became the first nation to lift sanctions on Iran.

Swiss companies would likely await the removal of sanctions by the US and other European countries, but their government’s decision puts the firms in pole position for trade.

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