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UN court examines stifling US sanctions against Iran

September 15, 2020 at 11:45 am

Members of the jurysit in the International Court of Justice in The Hague, The Netherlands, on January 27, 2014 [BAS CZERWINSKI/AFP via Getty Images]

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) yesterday began sessions to examine the complaint filed by Iran against the re-imposition of US sanctions.

The week-long online sessions started in the afternoon with the first round of US arguments. Iran’s representatives are due to present Tehran’s justifications tomorrow.

The judges will announce their decision at a later date.

Tehran accuses the United States of “suffocating” its economy and filed a lawsuit to the ICJ in July 2018 after US President Donald Trump decided to re-impose “unprecedented sanctions” on the Islamic Republic. This came after America unilaterally withdrew from the nuclear deal signed between Iran and world powers.

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In October 2018, the ICJ ordered the suspension of some of the sanctions, in particular on goods that are used for “humanitarian purposes”. Washington responded immediately by cancelling a friendship treaty signed between the two countries in 1955, which the court had referred to as justification for its decision.

Iran had asked the ICJ to suspend the sanctions temporarily until the judges announce their ruling in the case, which could take years.

The ICJ, which was established after World War II, examines disputes between states, but its rulings are not binding.