United States’ Contempt for Legal Obligations”: Iran Files Suit at the ICJ against U.S
As of 17th July, The International Court of Justice (ICJ) via an unofficial press release confirmed that the Islamic Republic of Iran had instituted proceedings against the United States of America on the grounds of violating the 1955 Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations and Consular Rights between the two countries, signed in Tehran.
As per statements from the Iranian administration, the lawsuit relates to the decision of the United States trying to impose and enforce sanctions on Iran, after deciding to lift the same in regard with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) that was adopted in 2015.
A U.S State Department official commented on Iran’s accusations by calling them ‘baseless’ and that the U.S intended to ‘vigorously defend’ itself at the ICJ. The lawsuit was instigated with the Trump Administration withdrawing from the JCPOA in May 2018, as it was dubbed by Trump as a flawed deal. This agreement permitted the continuation of Iran’s uranium enrichment program by scaling it down, ensuring that there UN regulation and no manufacturing of nuclear weaponry. As long as these conditions were met, international sanctions on Iran were to be lifted.
Referring to Tehran’s lawsuit at the ICJ, the country’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted on Monday saying – “Iran is committed to the rule of law in the face of U.S. contempt for diplomacy and legal obligations.”This comment as many have felt was in the light of the United States claiming the ICJ had no jurisdiction when a similar case was filed by Iran against the U.S pursuant to the same 1955 treaty in 2016.
The Court, however, is yet to release a date for the trial proceedings, which will be then followed by hearings within a few weeks and a decision in a few months. Although the ICJ is the United Nation’s principle judiciary organ and its decisions are binding, it possesses no real mechanism to enforce them and countries like the United States have a history of not abiding by them.
*Rayan Bhattacharya is a Research Intern at The Kootneeti