Economy, Business And Markets

ICJ Receives Iran Lawsuit Against US

ICJ Receives Iran  Lawsuit Against US  ICJ Receives Iran  Lawsuit Against US

The International Court of Justice acknowledged it received a complaint from Iran, suing the United States over its decision to give the alleged victims of terrorist attacks blamed on Iran the right to collect some $2 billion in Iranian assets that are frozen in the US.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran instituted proceedings yesterday against the United States of America before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, with regard to a dispute concerning “violations by the Government of the United States of America of the Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations, and Consular Rights between Iran and the United States of America which was signed in Tehran on 15 August 1955 and entered into force on 16 June 1957” the ICJ said in press release.

Iran's lawsuit  explains that the US, having for many years taken “the position that Iran may be designated a state sponsoring terrorism (a designation which Iran strongly contests)”, has adopted a number of legislative and executive acts that have the practical effect of subjecting the assets and interests of Iran and Iranian entities, including those of the Central Bank of Iran, to enforcement proceedings in the US, even where such assets or interests “are found to be held by separate juridical entities .

President Hassan Rouhani had announced late Wednesday Iran has filed a formal complaint with the ICJ to recover nearly $2 billion in assets frozen in the US.

Silence Irrelevant

 Rouhani, who was delivering a speech to families of war martyrs and veterans in Tehran, called the verdict by the American court as illegitimate, saying that the case of American nationals killed in Lebanon has nothing to do with Iran.

“It is not clear what the Americans were doing in Lebanon and how is the case related to Iran,” Rouhani said, vowing that Iran will never keep silent on the issue and that legal action will continue until the sum and all related compensations are retrieved.

In an interview with the New Yorker published on April 25, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the seizure of Iran's frozen assets by the US was “highway robbery,” vowing that the Islamic Republic will retrieve the sum anyway.

“It is a theft. Huge theft. It is highway robbery. And believe me, we will get it back,” he added, IRNA reported.

On April 28, Zarif wrote a letter to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, saying Tehran reserves the right to take countermeasures in response to the decision made by the US court.

UN spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, on April 29 confirmed the receipt of Zarif's letter and said, "The secretary general's good offices are always available should both parties to whatever tensions or issue request it."

The assets held in New York were part of the Iranian bank's foreign currency reserves. They were traced to a Citibank account in New York held by Luxemburg-based Clearstream Banking, which acted as an intermediary for Banca UBAE, an Italian bank of which the Iranian central bank is a customer.

 “We shouldn't stay quiet in the face of this incident … and we will pursue this complaint until it reaches a result," Rouhani said.

In the case presented to ICJ, Iran further argues that, as a consequence of US acts, “a wide series of claims have been determined, or are underway, against Iran and Iranian entities” and that US courts “have repeatedly dismissed attempts by the CBI to rely on the immunities to which such property is entitled” under US law and the 1955 Treaty.

It further maintains that “the assets of Iranian financial institutions and other Iranian companies have already been seized, or are in the process of being seized and transferred, or at risk of being seized and transferred, in a number of proceedings” and explains that, as of the date of its application, US courts “have awarded total damages of over US$ 56 billion . . . against Iran in respect of its alleged involvement in various terrorist acts mainly outside the US”.