Economy, Business And Markets

Gov’t Vows to Fight US Court Ruling

Gov’t Vows to Fight US Court RulingGov’t Vows to Fight US Court Ruling

The Cabinet on Tuesday formed a working group to look into the US Supreme Court’s ruling last week to appropriate $2 billion of Iran’s frozen assets and take necessary measures to restore them.

The committee is headed by the Economy Minister Ali Tayyebnia, with  Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif; Intelligence Minister, Mahmoud Alavi-Tabar; Justice Minister, Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi and Governor of the Central Bank of Iran, Valiollah Seif as members, the government’s official  website reported.

On April 20, the US Supreme Court ruled that $2 billion in frozen Iranian assets must be given to the victims of Americans killed in the 1983 bombing of a US Marine Corps barracks in Beirut and other attacks blamed on Iran. The Islamic Republic has denied any role in the attacks. 

The decision drew a vigorous dissent from Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Sonia Sotomayor. The former said it makes the separation of powers laid out under the constitution a “Maginot line” that Congress can march around easily by writing laws that remove the procedural defenses to specific lawsuits.

The special committee is tasked to work on different aspects of the rule, and present to the Cabinet within a week proposals on how the assets can be restored. 

President Hassan Rouhani condemned the American court ruling, calling it illegal and against international law related to the immunity of central banks.

“It is the first time that a legislative body passes a law and forces the judiciary to enact it," he said, adding the move is a "disgrace" for the US legal system.

The ICJ Option 

"Iran will stand against such illegitimate acts and the government will do its best to restore what belongs to its people." 

Iran said on Monday that it would seek to sue the United States at the International Court of Justice at The Hague to prevent the distribution of the assets from Iran’s central bank to compensate the American victims of overseas attacks.

 “We hold the US administration responsible for safeguarding the Iranian assets. And if they are not, we will go to the ICJ for reparation,” Zarif, told reporters on Monday in Tehran. 

The official news agency, IRNA published a review on Tuesday, slamming the previous administration for neglecting the CBI’s independence, which was later used against Iran in the so-called Bank Markazi v. Peterson case, leading to the ruling against Iran. 

"US law recognizes the immunity of central banks; however, the previous government’s systematic interventions in CBI affairs, through appointments and dictating (harmful) monetary policy, paved the way for the ruling against the country," the analysis said. 

Referring to former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's practice of hiring and firing at will, the agency points to the US court's argument that "the CBI is owned by the government, as not only it appoints the bank's governors but also occasionally sacks them before their five-year term is over. The government was also accused of meddling in monetary policies, which legally falls within the domain of the central bank. 

The news agency recalled, “In one case the government dissolved the Money and Credit Council in August 2007, leading to the resignation of Ibrahim Sheibani, the then CBI governor, who a year earlier had called for the independence of the regulator."