Judges at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague have ruled that the United States had violated international law by allowing American courts to confiscate nearly two billion dollars in assets from Iranian companies, and ordered Washington to pay compensation, the amount of which will be determined later.
On Thursday, the ICJ said Washington's freezing of funds belonging to several Iranian individuals and companies, including $1.75 billion from the Central Bank of Iran (CBI), was “manifestly unreasonable.”
The court, however, said that it did not have jurisdiction to rule on the freezing of assets from the CBI.
Iran: ICJ ruling supports Tehran's case against Washington
In reaction, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said the verdict demonstrates the legitimacy of the Islamic Republic’s positions and the illegal behavior of the US.
“As per this important ruling, the court rightfully dismissed the unsubstantiated defenses of the United States and recognized Iran as the rightful party by emphasizing the former’s violation of its commitments. The US obligation to compensate for the losses will be the most cogent reason for the legitimacy of the request of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” the ministry said in a statement.
It added that Tehran “considers it as one of its inherent duties to press for the rights of the Iranian nation, and will utilize all diplomatic, legal and judicial means and channels to demand the rights of the honorable Iranian people and the national interests of Iranians.”
The case before the ICJ was initially brought by Tehran against Washington in 2016 for breaching a 1955 friendship treaty, signed before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, by allowing American courts to freeze the assets of Iranian companies.
The US Supreme Court in 2016 ruled that about USD 2 billion in frozen Iranian assets must be turned over to American families of people killed in the 1983 bombing of a US Marine Corps barracks in the Lebanese capital of Beirut and other attacks blamed on Iran. Tehran has long rejected allegations of involvement in the 1983 Beirut bombing.
The money confiscated under the US court ruling belongs to the CBI. The assets were blocked under US sanctions.
The US formally withdrew from the 1955 treaty in 2018 after Iran filed two claims based on the accord.
Also known as the World Court, the ICJ is the United Nations' top court dealing with disputes between countries. Although the ICJ's rulings are binding, it has no power to enforce them.