Wednesday, October 3, 2018

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ordered the US to ease sanctions it re-imposed on Iran after abandoning a nuclear deal in May.

Judges ruled that the US had to remove "any impediments" to the export of humanitarian goods, including food, medicine and aviation safety equipment.
The US argued the ruling was a "defeat" for Iran, saying it already allowed humanitarian-related transactions.
The rulings of the ICJ are binding but the court has no power to enforce them.
It is the main judicial organ of the UN and settles legal disputes between member states. But both nations have in the past ignored the court's rulings.

What were the arguments in court?

Iran said the sanctions violated the 1955 Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations, and Consular Rights between Iran and the US, which grants the ICJ jurisdiction over disputes. 
It also said the reasons cited by President Donald Trump for re-imposing the sanctions were unfounded because the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had repeatedly confirmed that Iran was complying with the terms of the 2015 nuclear accord signed by Tehran and six world powers.

US lawyers argued that the ICJ should not have jurisdiction and that Iran's assertions fell outside the bounds of the treaty.
The ICJ has ruled previously that the 1955 treaty is valid even though it was signed before the 1979 Revolution in Iran, which saw the US-backed shah overthrown and heralded four decades of hostility between the two countries.

How did the ICJ rule?

The 15-judge panel rejected Iran's call for them to order the reinstated US sanctions to be terminated without delay, and for the US to compensate Iran for the revenue losses it has incurred.
But the judges did order the US to "remove, by means of its choosing, any impediments arising from the measures on 8 May to the free exportation to the territory of the Islamic Republic of Iran" of:
  • medicines and medical devices 
  • foodstuffs and agricultural commodities 
  • spare parts, equipment and services necessary for the safety of civil aviation

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