UN Should Oblige US to Deliver on Int’l Pledge

UN Should Oblige US to Deliver on Int’l Pledge
UN Should Oblige US to Deliver on Int’l Pledge

Iran's foreign minister called on UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to use his authority to make the US fulfill its international commitments, the latest reaction by Iranian authorities outraged over a recent anti-Iran ruling by a US court.

Mohammad Javad Zarif's appeal comes amid Iranians' mounting frustration with last year's nuclear deal, which is believed to have failed so far to deliver long-anticipated economic benefits.

The July 2015 accord, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, was clinched with the six major powers (the US, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany) and took effect in mid-January to give Iran sanctions relief in return for temporary curbs on its nuclear program.

The US Supreme Court found earlier this month that Congress had not usurped the authority of the courts by passing a law in 2012 stating that Iran's frozen funds in the US should go toward satisfying a $2.65 billion judgment against Iran won by the families of American victims of attacks blamed on Tehran in a US federal court in 2007.

"I wish to call on Your Excellency to lend your good offices in order to induce the US government to adhere to its international obligations, put an end to the violation of the fundamental principle of state immunity, release all frozen Iranian assets in US banks and cease and desist forthwith from any interference with Iranian commercial and financial transactions outside the United States, in compliance with its general international obligations and its obligations under the JCPOA," Zarif said in a letter to Ban on Thursday, IRNA reported.

"In the past few years, the United States has persistently engaged in a dangerous practice of defying international law and order by allowing, in fact instigating, private litigants to bring civil action before US domestic courts against sovereign states, including the Islamic Republic of Iran."

Zarif also noted in the letter that trials have been organized in absentia, self-serving judgments have been obtained in default and claims have been made on the assets of the Iranian people.

***All US Gov't Branches Accountable

The foreign minister said all the three branches of the US government have a hand in "the unlawful and factually flawed default" judgments based on such "absurd" allegations.

"The US executive branch illegally freezes Iranian national assets; the US legislative branch legislates to pave the ground for their illicit seizures and the US judicial branch issues rulings to confiscate Iranian assets without any base in law or fact," he wrote.

Zarif condemned the move as a "pseudo-legal scheme" and a blatant violation of the most fundamental principles of international law, including those of state immunity.

"The United States has devised a pseudo-legal scheme that subjects Iranian assets held in US and foreign banks, and even Iranian cultural property held on loan by American museums, to spurious rulings and unlawful collection proceedings."

The top diplomat pointed out that under the principle of state immunity, "with the sole possible permissible exception of 'commercial activity', claims against a sovereign state must be pursued either in accordance with mechanisms provided for in bilateral or multilateral agreements or through international courts or tribunals, as appropriate.

"It is a matter of grave concern that the United States Congress, along with other branches of the US government, seem to believe that they can easily defy and breach the fundamental principle of state immunity by unilaterally waiving the immunity of states … under a groundless legal doctrine."

Zarif told Ban he wanted to "alert you and through you the UN general membership about the catastrophic implications of the US blatant disrespect for state immunity, which will cause systematic erosion of this fundamental principle".