Iran to Open Lawsuit Against Washington’s Sanctions at UN’s Top Court

The Peace Palace in The Hague Netherlands seat of the International Court of Justice

The Peace Palace in The Hague Netherlands seat of the International Court of Justice

USA said that they have the right to protect its national security and other interests.

Iran has filed a lawsuit at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) seeking a court order to lift United States sanctions against them.

It said the sanctions would cause it "irreparable prejudice" are in breach of the 1955 Treaty of Amity and Economic Relations between Iran and the United States.

Sanctions had been lifted under a 2015 multilateral agreement in return for Iran committing not to pursue nuclear weapons.

Trump said the 2015 accord did not do enough to curb the threat from Iran.

The other parties to the deal - the UK, France, Germany, China and Russian Federation - have criticised Mr Trump's decision and pledged to abide by their commitments under the existing deal.

In a court filing at the ICJ, Iran's lawyers said the US sanctions threaten tens of billions of dollars' worth of business deals with foreign companies.

They also said the reasons cited by President Trump for reimposing the sanctions were unfounded because the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had repeatedly confirmed that Iran was complying with the terms of the nuclear deal. He accuses it of supporting terrorists.

In oral arguments in The Hague, Iran's representative Mohsen Mohebi accused Washington of plotting his country's "economic strangulation".

"The US is publicly propagating a policy meant to damage as severely as possible Iran's economy and Iranian national companies, and therefore inevitably Iranian nationals", said Mohsen Mohebi, representing Iran, at the start of four days of oral hearings. "We do this in the interests of USA national security as well as in pursuit of a more peaceful Middle East and a more peaceful world".

"We will vigorously defend against Iran's meritless claims this week in The Hague", said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

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The US measures have added to Iran's economic woes, fuelling strikes and protests across the political spectrum.

The Iranian currency, the rial, has lost half its value against the dollar, the monthly inflation rate has risen to 10.2%, and unemployment stands at 12.5%.

Worldwide companies including France's Total, Peugeot and Renault, and Germany's Siemens and Daimler, have suspended operations in Iran since Trump announced the United States withdrawal from the nuclear deal in May.

This is the first time, however, that Iran has pushed a lawsuit regarding the treaty to prevent United States sanctions.

Newstead argued that Iran had a broader aim to "reinstate sanctions relief" altogether - a matter she said was beyond the court's remit.

The ICJ issued binding orders, though it has no authority to actually enforce them.

Iran's case challenging the legality of the re-imposition of sanctions is likely to take months or years to complete.

However, whether any decision will be implemented remains unclear.

Earlier this month, Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appeared to rule out any immediate prospect of talks, saying "there will be neither war, nor negotiations", with the US.

The case is the second brought by Tehran against Washington since 2016.

The ICJ president Abdulqawi Yusuf heads a 15-judge panel hearing Iran's case.

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