Iran has ‘un­clean hands’ in world court bat­tle, US says

The Miracle - - Middle East -

THE HAGUE: The United States ac­cused Tehran Mon­day of hav­ing “un­clean hands” as it fought an Ira­nian court bid to un­freeze bil­lions of dol­lars ear­marked by Wash­ing­ton for ter­ror vic­tims. Wash­ing­ton said Iran’s “sup­port for in­ter­na­tional ter­ror­ism,” in­clud­ing bomb­ings and air­line hi­jack­ings, should rule out its case at the In­ter­na­tional Court of Jus­tice (ICJ) in The Hague. Iran dragged Wash­ing­ton to the UN’s top court in 2016 over a US Supreme Court rul­ing that the $2 bil­lion should go to vic­tims of at­tacks blamed on the Is­lamic repub­lic. Iran said the case breached a 1955 “Treaty of Amity” be­tween Wash­ing­ton and Tehran signed be­fore Iran’s Is­lamic rev­o­lu­tion. Wash­ing­ton tore up that treaty last week after the ICJ in a sep­a­rate case or­dered the United States to ease sanc­tions reim­posed on Iran by US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump after he pulled out of Iran’s 2015 in­ter­na­tional nuclear deal. “Iran comes to the court with un­clean hands. In­deed, it is a re­mark­able show of bad faith,” Richard Visek, a US State De­part­ment le­gal of­fi­cial, told the court. “The ac­tions at the root of this case cen­ter on Iran’s sup­port for in­ter­na­tional ter­ror­ism... Iran’s bad acts in­clude sup­ports for ter­ror­ist bomb­ings, as­sas­si­na­tions, kid­nap­pings, and air­line hi­jack­ings,” he said. Visek also ac­cused Iran’s “most se­nior lead­ers” of the “en­cour­age­ment and pro­mo­tion of ter­ror­ism” and “vi­o­la­tion of nuclear non-pro­lif­er­a­tion, bal­lis­tic mis­sile and arms traf­fick­ing obli­ga­tions.” Iran’s use of the 1955 treaty to lodge the case was an “abuse of process,” he added. The ICJ was set up after World War II to rule on dis­putes be­tween United Na­tions mem­ber states. Its rul­ings are bind­ing but it has no power to en­force them. At Mon­day’s hear­ing, a 15-judge bench is lis­ten­ing to US ar­gu­ments over whether the ICJ can take up the case un­der its strict rules gov­ern­ing its pro­ce­dure. The US Supreme Court ruled in April 2016 that $2 bil­lion in Iran’s frozen as­sets must go to Amer­i­can vic­tims of ter­ror at­tacks. These in­cluded the 1983 bomb­ing of a US Marine bar­racks in Beirut, in which 241 soldiers were killed, and the 1996 Kho­bar Tow­ers bomb­ing in Saudi Ara­bia. In to­tal, the de­ci­sion af­fects more than 1,000 Amer­i­cans. Iran an­grily ac­cused Wash­ing­ton of break­ing the 1955 treaty — even though it was signed at the time with the pro-US regime of the Shah — and called for the US “to make full repa­ra­tions to Iran for the vi­o­la­tion of its in­ter­na­tional le­gal obli­ga­tions.”...... A de­ci­sion by the ICJ’s judges could take weeks or even months be­fore be­ing made pub­lic. But Mon­day’s show­down risks deep­en­ing the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s rift with in­ter­na­tional jus­tice. That fol­lowed Iran’s shock vic­tory last week when the ICJ ruled that the US must lift sanc­tions against Tehran tar­get­ing hu­man­i­tar­ian goods like food and medicine. The step also came after the Pales­tini­ans went to the ICJ to chal­lenge the US move of its Is­rael em­bassy to Jerusalem.....

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