Will international court force US to lift Iran sanctions?

International Court of Justice begins hearings after Iran demands court suspend US sanctions while case is determined.

David Rosenberg ,

International Criminal Court at The Hague
International Criminal Court at The Hague

The International Court of Justice in The Hague is set to begin hearing arguments on a petition filed by the Iranian government last month against the economic sanctions imposed by the US on Iran earlier this year, after the US withdrew from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

Prior to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action signed by the Obama administration, China, France, Germany, the European Union, Russia, and the United Kingdom in 2015, the US and its allies maintained a comprehensive sanctions regime against Tehran, over the rogue state’s nuclear program and its support for terrorism around the world.

Sanctions were lifted under the terms of the JCPOA – only to be restored by President Donald Trump in May, after the US withdrew from the deal.

Two months later, Iran filed a petition with the International Court of Justice, arguing that the sanctions violated a 63-year-old agreement between the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, and the US.

Iran has demanded that the sanctions be lifted, citing the 1955 US-Iran Treaty of Amity, the AP reported.

The ICJ, which serves as the court for the United Nations, will hear arguments by representatives of the Iranian government on Monday that the court should impose a temporary order suspending sanctions until a final decision has been rendered in the case – a process likely to take years.

The US is expected to respond in the ICJ on Tuesday by rejecting the claim that the court has jurisdiction over the matter, and that in any case the 1955 treat with the Iranian Shah is null and void.

After four days of hearings on Iran’s request for a temporary suspension of sanctions, the court is expected to respond within a month.

If the court rules in Iran’s favor and grants a temporary order demanding that sanctions be suspended, the ICJ would be forced to turn to the Security Council for a resolution to enforce the decision. The United States, one of five permanent members on the Council, holds veto power over Council decisions.