US urges UN court docket to toss out Iranian frozen property case

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — America on Wednesday urged the Worldwide Court docket of Justice to throw out a case introduced by Iran looking for to claw again round $2 billion price of frozen Iranian property that the U.S. Supreme Court docket awarded to victims of a 1983 bombing in Lebanon and different assaults linked to Tehran.

The chief of the U.S. authorized crew, Richard Visek, instructed the U.N. court docket that it ought to invoke, for the primary time, a authorized precept often called “unclean arms,” beneath which a nation can’t convey a case due to its personal legal actions linked to the case.

You are reading: US urges UN court docket to toss out Iranian frozen property case

“Iran’s case needs to be dismissed in its entirety based mostly on the precept of unclean arms,” Visek instructed the judges sitting within the court docket’s Nice Corridor of Justice.

“The essence of this threshold protection is that Iran’s personal egregious conduct, its sponsorship of terrorist acts directed towards the USA and U.S. nationals, lies on the very core of its claims,” Visek mentioned.

The Hague-based court docket has by no means used the “unclean arms” protection as a purpose to toss out a case, nevertheless it has been efficiently cited in worldwide arbitration instances, Visek mentioned.

“America submits that if there was ever a case for utility of the precept of unclean arms — one which we acknowledge needs to be thought of solely in slim circumstances — it’s this case,” Visek mentioned.

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On Monday, Iran mentioned the U.S. asset confiscation was an try to destabilize the Tehran authorities and a violation of worldwide regulation.

Iran took its declare to the world court docket in 2016 after the U.S. Supreme Court docket dominated that cash held in Iran’s central financial institution might be used to compensate the 241 victims of a 1983 bombing — believed to be linked to Tehran — of a U.S. navy base in Lebanon.

The world court docket dominated it had jurisdiction to listen to the case in 2019, rejecting an argument from the U.S. that its nationwide safety pursuits outmoded the 1955 Treaty of Amity, which promised friendship and cooperation between the 2 nations.

“The liberty of navigation and commerce assured by the treaty have been gravely breached,” Tavakol Habibzadeh, head of worldwide authorized affairs for Iran, instructed the 14-judge panel on Monday.

At stake within the case being heard this week are $1.75 billion in bonds, plus amassed curiosity, belonging to the Iranian state however held in a Citibank account in New York.

Visek additionally instructed judges that Iran’s claims needs to be rejected as a result of the frozen property are state holdings not coated by the treaty.

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In 1983, a truck bomb detonated at a U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, killing 241 American troops. Minutes later, a second blast close by killed 58 French troopers. Iran has denied involvement, however a U.S. District Court docket choose discovered Tehran accountable in 2003. That ruling mentioned Iran’s ambassador to Syria on the time known as “a member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and instructed him to instigate the Marine barracks bombing.”

America terminated the 1955 Treaty of Amity in 2018 in response to an order by the Worldwide Court docket of Justice in a separate case to raise sanctions towards Iran. Then Secretary of State Mike Pompeo mentioned withdrawing from the treaty was lengthy overdue and adopted Iran “groundlessly” bringing a grievance to the court docket alleging that U.S. sanctions have been a violation of the pact.

Each the sanctions case and the asset confiscation case are persevering with as a result of they have been filed earlier than Washington scrapped the treaty.

The 2 nations have had no diplomatic relations because the 1979 U.S. Embassy takeover by militant college students in Tehran.

Judges are prone to take months to situation a ruling within the case. The court docket’s judgments are remaining and legally binding.

Wednesday’s listening to in The Hague got here on the day that U.S. President Joe Biden and Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi will probably be giving speeches on the second day of the U.N. Normal Meeting ’s first totally in-person assembly because the coronavirus pandemic started.

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