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Parliamentary questions
8 February 2011
E-9540/2010
Answer given by High Representative/Vice-President Ashton on behalf of the Commission

In 2010, pursuant to United Nations (UN) Security Council Resolution 1929 and in light of the European Council’s deepening concern about Iran's nuclear programme, the EU adopted Regulation (EU) No 961/2010 to extend restrictive measures against Iran in the areas of trade, financial sector, transport and key sectors in the oil and gas industry, as well as against the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. These restrictive measures (sanctions) aim at supporting the resolution of all outstanding concerns regarding Iran’s development of sensitive technologies in support of its nuclear and missile programmes through negotiation, in order to promote a diplomatic solution to Iran's nuclear issue. EU sanctions remain targeted on specific areas and persons, with a view to minimising adverse consequences for those not responsible for the policies that prompted the imposition of sanctions, and primarily the Iranian population.

As regards ‘additional sanctions’, the Commission is aware that certain firms have taken decisions regarding their business relations with Iran that may not be required under EU sanctions regulations, and recognises that the effect of such decisions by companies should be assessed distinctly from the impact of EU sanctions. The Commission has also, on several occasions, discussed with the US the ‘Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Divestment and Accountability Act’ (CISADA) and expressed concern about its potential extraterritorial effects. The Commission will continue to follow this issue closely, also in relation with private organisations and the implementation and assessment of the EU restrictive measures.

The EU regulations provide a basis for a uniform implementation of EU sanctions and require Member States to lay down proportionate, effective and dissuasive penalties applicable to infringements. According to the regulation, the Commission and Member States inform each other of implementation and enforcement, but Member States remain responsible for the enforcement of sanctions. Under Article 215 TFEU, the Parliament shall be informed by the Council about the adoption of EU regulations on sanctions.

The Commission will continue to highlight the need to ensure that EU sanctions do not harm the Iranian civilian population, as an integral part of the EU’s policy towards Iran.

OJ C 265 E, 09/09/2011
Last updated: 18 February 2011Legal notice