Iran Says Recent Seizures Are About Destabilizing Country

Last week, lawyers for Iran and the United States appeared before the UN’s International Court of Justice in The Hague where Tehran accused the US of confiscating around $2 billion in assets to force regime change in the country.

Iran initially brought a complaint to the International Court of Justice in 2016 after the US Supreme Court ordered the confiscation of over $1.75 billion in bonds and interest held by Citibank in New York to award damages to the victims of Iranian-sponsored terrorist attacks.

Lawyers for Iran told the court that Washington breached a 1955 friendship treaty when the Supreme Court was allowed to confiscate the assets from Iranian companies, including the $1.75 billion from Iran’s central bank.

The 1955 friendship treaty was signed long before the Islamic Revolution in 1979 that ousted the US-backed shah leading to the severing of relations between the United States and Iran.

After Tehran filed two claims citing the 1955 treaty, Washington formally withdrew from the treaty in 2018.

On Wednesday, lawyers for the US asked the judges to dismiss Iran’s claims based on “unclean hands.”

Richard Visek, the acting legal advisor of the US State Department, argued that Iran can’t complain about the actions of the Supreme Court since the assets frozen were the result of Iran’s illegal conduct.

However, the judges rejected Visek’s argument. ICJ Justice President Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf said the judges found that the ICJ has the jurisdiction to “entertain the application filed by the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

The International Court of Justice, commonly known as the World Court, is the United Nations’ court that deals with disputes between countries. While its rulings are binding, the ICJ does not have the power to enforce them.

Both Iran and the United States are among a handful of countries that have disregarded the rulings of the ICJ.

A decision in this case is expected next year.