ICJ hears Iran’s case against the USA for re-imposing sanctions

  • The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has begun hearing Iran’s request for provisional ruling against the USA for its 8 May decision to withdraw from the JCPOA. The 8 May decision re-imposed sanctions previously removed under the agreement. Following wind-down periods, all of which end in November, the final sanctions will take effect targeting Iran’s oil and energy sector.

    Iran’s Application Instituting Proceedings contends it has been acting in full compliance with its obligations under the JCPOA, a position supported by the International Atomic Energy Agency and the EU. The EU has repeatedly pleaded with the US not to withdraw from the JCPOA. Iran complains the re-imposition of sanctions will cause irreparable damage to its economy, Iranian nationals and companies. This palpable damage is already being felt and began upon the mere announcement of the re-imposition of sanctions, argues Iran.

    Iran requests the ICJ rules that, inter alia; the US is in breach of the Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations, and Consular Rights; it must terminate the sanctions; and fully compensate Iran. This 1955 Treaty is a friendship agreement between Iran and the US and allows for either party to request decision from the ICJ as to the interpretation or application of the Treaty. The Treaty was signed more than 20 years prior to the Islamic Revolution which soured relations with the US.

    The US Department of State argues Iran’s filing with the ICJ is a misuse of the court, the claims are meritless and would interfere with the sovereign rights of the US to impose sanctions.

    No date has been set for the ICJ’s ruling in the case. Regardless of the outcome, the ICJ has no power to enforce its rulings and the US has not adhered to previous ICJ rulings.