The Central Bank of Iran (CBI) has managed to win a court order in Luxembourg to prevent the transfer of nearly $1.7 billion worth of assets from the European country to the United States.
The CBI said in a Thursday statement that the court order had reiterated that Clearstream, a securities depository based in Luxembourg, would face heavy fines if it unilaterally hands over Iranian funds that it has in its possession to the United States.
The statement said the ruling had come in response to a request by the CBI and the Iranian Presidency’s legal affairs unit to prevent any potential transfer of the funds following a recent legislation in the US which allows American courts to have Iranian assets confiscated anywhere in the world without observing the national laws of the countries where they are being held.
“Luxembourg’s recent decision clearly prevents Clearstream from obeying the United States’ law and handing over the Iranian funds to the US without first having Luxembourg recognize the US law,” said the CBI statement.
The CBI had said in August that it would exhaust all legal channels to prevent the US from seizing Iranian securities held by Clearstream, a company which is a subsidiary of Germany’s stock exchange operator Deutsche Boerse.
The announcement on the new court ruling in Luxembourg comes a day after the European Court of Justice, which is also based in Luxembourg, advised a German court to punish a major telecoms company over its failure to honor a contract with Bank Melli Iran simply because of fears over US penalties.
US courts have been pursuing the confiscation of Iranian funds in Luxembourg to use them for paying damages to alleged victims of terrorism in the US.