World court rules Iran's bid to recover assets frozen by US can proceed
AP Photo/Peter Dejong
The International Court of Justice ruled Wednesday that Iran can proceed with a bid to recover billions of dollars in frozen assets the United States says must go to victims of attacks blamed on Tehran.
Judges rejected US claims that the case should be thrown out because Iran had "unclean hands" due to alleged links to terrorism, and that the tribunal in The Hague did not have jurisdiction in the lawsuit.
Iran is seeking to recover $2 billion in frozen assets that the United States says must be paid to American victims of attacks blamed on Tehran, including the 1983 bombing of a US Marine barracks in Beirut in which 241 soldiers were killed and the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia.
Tensions between Tehran and Washington are already high around the 40th anniversary of the Iranian revolution and summit in Warsaw where the United States aims to pile pressure on Iran over what it says is the Islamic Republic’s “destabilizing influence” in the Middle East.
The ruling threatens to cause further bad blood after a decision by The Hague in October ordering Washington to lift nuclear-related sanctions on humanitarian goods for Iran.
Iran had said the US decision to freeze the funds breached 1955 Treaty of Amity with the United States, an agreement signed before Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution severed relations between the countries.
The United States announced after the sanctions case that it was immediately pulling out of the Treaty of Amity.
The ICJ is the top court of the United Nations and was set up after World War II to resolve disputes between member states. Its rulings are binding and cannot be appealed, but it has no means of enforcing them.
Since the 1990s, the U.S. courts and Iran have been engaged in numerous conflict regarding the role of Iran in sponsoring terrorism and their culpability for incidents which killed American military personnel.
Relations between Washington and Tehran have been strained since US President Donald Trump's decision last year to pull out of a "terrible" international nuclear deal with Iran and reimpose sanctions.
The 2015 nuclear deal had unblocked billions of dollars in other Iranian funds.
In Poland this week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will use a two-day conference of foreign ministers to try to rally the world behind increasing pressure on Iran and supporting Israel, although turnout could be thin.
The Trump administration has also found itself at odds with its European allies over the nuclear deal, with EU powers launching a mechanism to bypass sanctions.
But with Iran's clerical regime facing economic difficulties the case on the frozen funds remains crucial.
(Staff with AFP)
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Its rulings are binding and cannot be appealed, but it has no means of enforcing them. HEHEHEHE No Money for iran. In fact, add new sanctions that will cost them far more than the $2bil they are seaking.