The Hague, Oct 3 : The International Court of Justice on Wednesday ordered the US to ease its sanctions on Iran and said exports of "humanitarian" goods, such as food and medicines, should be allowed.
"The court considers that the United States must remove, by means of its choosing, any impediment (...) to the free exportation to the territory of Iran of goods required for humanitarian needs," said court president, Judge Abdulqawi Yusuf, announcing the ruling. The Iranian foreign ministry said the ICJ decision "vindicates the Islamic Republic of Iran and confirms the illegitimacy and oppressiveness" of sanctions which the US re-imposed after pulling out a nuclear deal last year.
The US argued that the court had no jurisdiction in the case as it concerned its national security. President Donald Trump restored tough US sanctions in May after withdrawing from Tehran’s nuclear accord with world powers. Iran challenged the sanctions at the ICJ in July.
The rulings of the ICJ are binding, but it has no power to enforce them. It now remains to be seen if the Trump administration will comply. Iran says that the sanctions breach a 1955 bilateral agreement, known as the Treaty of Amity, which regulates and promotes economic and consular ties between the two countries.
The Court said it considers that the 1955 Treaty contains rules providing for freedom of trade and commerce between the US and Iran, including specific rules prohibiting restrictions on the import and export of products originating from the two countries, as well as rules relating to the payment and transfer of funds between them.
In its view, measures adopted by the US, for example, the revocation of licences and authorizations granted for certain commercial transactions between Iran and the United States, the ban on trade of certain items, and limitations to financial activities, might be regarded as relating to certain rights and obligations of the Parties to that Treaty.
"The Court is therefore satisfied that at least the aforementioned measures which were complained of by Iran are indeed prima facie capable of falling within the material scope of the 1955 Treaty." (UNI)