International Court of Justice
International Court of JusticeiStock

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled on Wednesday that Iran can proceed with a bid to recover billions of dollars in frozen assets which the United States says must go to victims of attacks blamed on Tehran, AFP reported.

Judges in the UN's top court rejected US claims that the case should be thrown out because Iran had "unclean hands" due to alleged links to terrorism, and that the tribunal in The Hague did not have jurisdiction in the lawsuit.

In June of 2016, Iran filed a formal complaint with the International Court of Justice over the US Supreme Court’s ruling that nearly $2 billion in assets frozen in the United States will be recovered as compensation to families of victims of terrorist attacks linked to the Islamic Republic.

Iran claimed the case breached a 1955 "Treaty of Amity" between Washington and Tehran signed before Iran's Islamic Revolution.

Late last year, Washington tore up that treaty after the ICJ in a separate case ordered the United States to ease sanctions that were reimposed on Iran by US President Donald Trump after he pulled out of Iran's 2015 international nuclear deal.

The court will hold further hearings to decide whether Iran can get back the $2 billion frozen by the US Supreme Court in 2016.

Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf, the chief judge at the ICJ, said the court "unanimously rejects the preliminary objections to admissibility raised by the United States of America".

The court also "finds that it has jurisdiction" to rule on the case, Yusuf said at the end of an hour-long reading of the judgment.