The solicitor gives thumbs up to the framework agreement reached with the P5+1 countries
April 8, 2015: Zaiwalla & Co, the solicitors who overturned both the United Kingdom’s and European Union’s sanctions against Iranian banks, welcomed the framework agreement which has been reached between the P5+1 countries and Iran relating to Iran’s nuclear programme.
This deal, which was announced on April 2 night, has come about after more than a decade of negotiations. However, substantial progress in these negotiations was made only after the successful legal challenges launched by Bank Mellat, Iran’s largest private bank. Bank Mellat won its actions in the UK Supreme Court and EU courts; the sanctions against the bank were declared unlawful, and the bank is now claiming damages of $4 billion from the UK government.
In these current negotiations, the West has offered to lift the sanctions imposed against Iran in return for Iran agreeing to roll back its nuclear programme, reducing approximately two-thirds of its installed centrifuges. Iran will receive sanctions relief if it verifiably abides by its commitments under the framework agreement. The current US and EU sanctions will be suspended after the IAEA has verified that Iran has taken all of its key nuclear-related steps.
The US sanctions will be retained during the course of the deal and will allow for a re-enforcement of the same in the case of non-performance of obligations by Iran. The West’s concerted campaign of pressure, involving the imposition of a wide range of blanket sanctions on Iran’s financial, oil and gas sectors, suffered a setback when the UK Supreme Court and the European Court of Justice annulled numerous sanctions imposed on various Iranian entities. The judgment of the European Court, therefore, put pressure on the West to be more amenable in negotiations with Iran; it was widely criticised by the US administration.
Bank Mellat’s victory sent a signal that the European Court will decide cases based on the Rule of Law rather than observing political exigencies. This brought confidence to many other Iranian private entities to challenge sanctions imposed on them, and a wave of subsequent successful challenges by these entities followed. Member states of the European Union do recognise that when sanctions are declared unlawful by EU courts, the payment of damages to those suffered by sanctions has to come from the taxpayers’ pockets.
Sarosh Zaiwalla, Senior Partner of Zaiwalla & Co. LLP, who acted for Bank Mellat said: “Iran has an ancient culture of peace and goodwill towards all and this historic agreement will give momentum for start of a new relationship between Iran and the West. The Iranian people and business have suffered due to the sanctions imposed on Iran and the framework agreement will come as a welcome relief to Iranian people.”