US ‘disappointed’ as UN court takes up Iran’s case against sanctions

The new US administration says it is “disappointed” after the UN’s highest court rules that it can hear a case brought by Iran against illegal American sanctions, despite President Joe Biden’s criticism of his predecessor for reinstating the bans on the Islamic Republic after leaving a 2015 nuclear deal.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) — also known as the World Court — rejected the arguments made by Washington that the lawsuit was outside the jurisdiction of the tribunal.

Tehran had filed the case with the ICJ in 2018 after then US President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal, called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and reinstated anti-Iran sanctions.

The lawsuit said the US sanctions against Iran violate the 1955 Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations, and Consular Rights between the two countries, causing “hardship and suffering” and “ruining millions of lives.”

The US argued that the case should be thrown out by the ICJ for lack of jurisdiction and admissibility.

The Hague-based court, however, said the terms of the 1955 treaty provided a basis for the case to proceed in the international body.

Reacting to the ruling, US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said, “We have great respect for the International Court of Justice. At the same time, we are disappointed that the court did not accept our well-founded legal arguments, that the case Iran brought is outside the court’s jurisdiction, and the court should not hear it.”

Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif hailed the court’s decision as “another legal victory for Iran.”