The US is ready to fight its corner at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) after Iran raised the issue of economic sanctions imposed by Washington with the international body, Al Jazeera reported.
"Iran's filing with the ICJ is an attempt to interfere with the sovereign rights of the United States to take lawful actions, including reimposition of sanctions, which are necessary to protect our national security. The proceedings instituted by Iran are a misuse of the court," Mike Pompeo, US secretary of state, said yesterday as the legal case began at the Hague.
Iran has requested the ICJ order the US to lift economic sanctions after the White House unilaterally withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal. Adding to this, Iran's lawyer Mohsen Mohebi condemned the US for "naked economic aggression" in the first legal session of the hearing. The sanctions have had "immediate damaging consequences on Iran and the Iranian people", Mohebi continued.
US lawyers will argue that the ICJ does not have jurisdiction in the dispute, and the sanctions in question do not violate the nuclear deal. President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the nuclear deal in May and is reimposing sanctions on Tehran, even as other parties to the accord are trying to find ways to save the agreement.
According to Pompeo, American lawyers at the Hague will "vigorously defend" the US' position on Iran. "We will continue to work with our allies to counter the Iranian regime's destabilising activities in the region, block their financing of terror, and address Iran's proliferation of ballistic missiles and other advanced weapons systems that threaten international peace and stability. We will also ensure Iran has no path to a nuclear weapon – not now, not ever."
The US' allies, who took part in the negotiations surrounding the nuclear deal, do not support the sanctions. The European Union (EU) announced its first financial support package to assist Iran's troubled economy, part of an initiative to save the nuclear deal last week.
A top US envoy on Iran criticised the EU decision to give $20.7 million in aid to Tehran, saying it sent "the wrong message at the wrong time," and he urged Brussels to help Washington end the Iranian threat to global stability.
A clear decision on the case will be concluded within a month. ICJ decisions are not binding on state parties, though it has recognition to resolve international disputes. Previously, verdicts have been simply ignored, including by the US.