UN Court Orders Washington to Lift Some Iran Sanctions
THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS — October 3, 2018
The United Nations’ highest court ordered on Wednesday that the United States lift its sanctions against Iran that affect the importation of humanitarian goods and products and services linked to the safety of civil aviation, as the Associated Press reported on its official Twitter page.
According to The Hague, the measures adopted by the U.S. may endanger civil aviation safety in Iran and the lives of its users. These sanctions prevent Iranian airlines “from acquiring spare parts” and equipment, and prevent access to “maintenance, repair services and safety-related inspections” which are necessary for civil aircraft, the statement says.
PRESS RELEASE: the #ICJ delivers its Order on the Request for the indication of provisional measures submitted by Iran in the case of the Treaty of Amity (#Iran v. #UnitedStates) https://t.co/ZTnc2ZpDaz pic.twitter.com/DK1XVZXTqN— CIJ_ICJ (@CIJ_ICJ) October 3, 2018
Also, restrictions on the importation and purchase of goods “for humanitarian needs,” such as foodstuffs and life-saving medicines, as well as treatments for chronic disease or preventive care, and medical equipment may have a serious impact on the health and lives of Iranians, the court concluded.
The ruling by the International Court of Justice is legally binding, but it remains to be seen if President Donald Trump’s administration will comply.
More than 60 years ago, in 1955, the U.S. signed the Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations, and Consular Rights, in which the sides agreed to encourage “mutually beneficial trade and investments,” and maintain “closer economic intercourse generally between their peoples.”
It has been almost five months since Donald Trump, a long-time critic of Iran and the nuclear agreement, pulled the U.S. out of the deal. Iran challenged the sanctions in a case filed in July at the International Court of Justice.
In a preliminary ruling, the court said that Washington must “remove, by means of its choosing, any impediments arising from” the re-imposition of sanctions on the exportation to Iran of medicine and medical devices, food and agricultural commodities, and spare parts and equipment necessary to ensure the safety of civil aviation.
While imposing the so-called “provisional measures,” the court’s president, Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf, stressed that the ruling does not prejudge the ultimate outcome of the case or establish that the court has jurisdiction.
Iranian state television trumpeted the court’s decision in a scrolling graphic at the bottom of TV screens: “The victory of Tehran over Washington by the Hague Court.”
The U.S. is expected to challenge the court’s jurisdiction in a future hearing.
At hearings in August, Tehran sought the suspension of the sanctions while the case challenging their legality is being heard — a process that can take years. U.S. lawyers responded that the sanctions are a legal and justified national security measure that cannot be challenged by Tehran at the world court.
In its decision, the court said that the U.S. sanctions “have the potential to endanger civil aviation safety” in Iran and that sanctions limiting the sales of goods required for humanitarian needs such as food, medicines, and medical devices, “may have a serious detrimental impact on the health and lives of individuals on the territory of Iran.”
The court said that the Trump administration must “ensure that licenses and necessary authorizations are granted” and payments not be restricted if they are linked to humanitarian and aviation goods.
The court also told both the United States and Iran to “refrain from any action which might aggravate or extend the dispute.”