Friday, 23 August, 2019

To ensure Iran sanctions don't hit humanitarian aid

A general view of the International Court of Justice in session The Hague A general view of the International Court of Justice in session The Hague
Patty Aguilar | 03 October, 2018, 21:37

The UN's top court will rule Wednesday on Iran's bid to suspend crippling U.S. sanctions reimposed by President Donald Trump after he pulled out of the global nuclear deal with Tehran. Iran had alleged that the sanctions breach the 1955 bilateral agreement known as the Treaty of Amity, from when the two countries had good relations, that regulates and promotes economic and diplomatic ties between the two countries.

"The court finds unanimously that. the United States of America. shall remove by means of its choosing any impediments arising from the measures announced on 8 May to the free exportation to Iran of medicines and medical devices, food and agricultural commodities" chief judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf said, according to the Times of India. "Iran is abusing the ICJ for political and propaganda purposes and their case, as you can see from the decision, lacked merit". The court's president, Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf, said that the case will continue and the USA could challenge the court's jurisdiction.

The ICJ is the United Nations' highest court for resolving disputes between nations.

The next batch of U.S. sanctions on Iran, due to come into force in November, target Iran's lucrative oil industry and energy sector.

The treaty was signed long before Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution which ended friendly relations between the countries.

"The court order issued on Wednesday is temporary pending a resolution of Iran's full lawsuit against Washington by the ICJ, something that could take years", Reuters also noted.

Last month, in its first legal response to the suit, U.S. had told United Nations judges that they had no jurisdiction to rule on Tehran's demand for them to order the suspension of debilitating the nuclear-related sanctions.

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USA lawyers had told the court that the administration would "use its best endeavors" to look at concerns about humanitarian and aviation related issues caused by the sanctions.

US sanctions against Iran were previously lifted under the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which President Donald Trump withdrew from in May.

The U.N. Security Council started the Oil-for-Food Programme in 1996 to allow Iraq to sell enough crude to pay for food and other necessities for its population, which was suffering under strict U.N. sanctions imposed after the first Gulf War. Last Friday, Pompeo ordered USA diplomats to evacuate the mission and relocate.

The Iranian government hailed the ruling as proof that "Iran is in the right" but it was not clear if the USA would abide by the court's decision and ease sanctions. Echoing Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's remarks to the United Nations last week, Zarif added that it is "imperative for int'l community to collectively counter malign USA unilateralism".

FILE PHOTO: The International Court of Justice headquarters in The Hague, Netherlands August 27, 2018.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani speaks at a news conference on the sidelines of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in NY, U.S., September 26, 2018. "The ICC claims near-universal jurisdiction over the citizens of every country, violating all principles of justice, fairness, and due process".

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